INDIANAPOLIS — On a night when the Indiana Fever celebrated the 40th anniversary of Title IX, they decided to make a little history of their own.
The Fever drained a franchise-record 15 3-pointers in their 95-61 dismantling of the Connecticut Sun (9-3), the Eastern Conference’s top team.
More importantly, the game served as a hopeful funkbuster for Indiana (6-4) as they entered the game losers of four of their last five.
“Postgame, I just told everybody we need to build on this,” said Katie Douglas, who scored 17 points. “We’ve got three tough games on the road and we need to start Saturday night at Tulsa, getting wins and being road warriors. Hopefully this kind of leads us in the right direction.”
The Sun had served the Fever two of those four losses, including an 88-85 overtime victory at Connecticut two days previously, which helped serve as motivation for Thursday night’s game.
“We wanted to come out of the gate hard, just come at them and a make a statement from the jump,” guard Briann January said. “We knew we had started slow in previous games and we didn’t want to do that tonight so we turned it around.”
Indiana burst out of the gate with a 10-0 lead and led 25-13 after the first quarter.
The 57 points scored in the first half tied for a second-best franchise-record of points scored in a half. With the 34-point margin at game’s end, the Fever handed the Sun their franchise-worst loss.
“It was by far the best game we’ve played all year,” Indiana coach Lin Dunn said.
Six Fever players hit 3 pointers, including four each from January and second-year pro Jeanette Pohlen. January’s four 3-pointers helped contribute to her career-high 20 points.
“That’s attributed to my teammates,” she said. “They were finding me as I was spacing and it was just a complete team effort tonight. Everybody was finding each other, making each other better.”
With the night focused on celebrating Title IX, the meaning was special to Dunn who has seen each phase of the Title IX process.
“I’m just thrilled to see these opportunities,” Dunn said. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the WNBA. If there wasn’t a Title IX then I’m sure that I wouldn’t be standing here tonight and all these women wouldn’t be playing. It’s a historic moment. It’s been 40 years since we passed a law that created all these opportunities.”
Now almost a third of the way through the season, the Fever players know it is early but are positive things are heading in the right direction, regardless of the struggles.
“I like the chemistry,” Douglas said. “I think the chemistry is what has really evolved and it is really positive out there. We have one through 11 that can step up on any night. As far as an early season assessment, I like this team. We have a lot of areas to improve but as long as we continue to push each other and hold each other accountable. I think good things are going to happen for this team this year.”