The Indiana Fever overcame injury woes and produced a stunning turnaround in the first half of this season. They're hoping to keep that momentum going after the All-Star break while getting a little healthier.
The Fever open the second half seeking their eighth victory in 10 games Thursday night against the last-place Connecticut Sun.
After winning its first WNBA title in 2012, Indiana endured the worst start in franchise history at 1-7 and finished the first half below .500 for the first time since 2002. Injuries to Katie Douglas (back), Jessica Davenport (tibia), Erin Phillips (knee) and Jeanette Pohlen (knee) hardly helped.
Tamika Catchings also missed two games in June due to an ailing lower back.
Despite being short-handed, the Fever are just one win away from evening their record after their surge into the break. Indiana (8-9) wrapped up the first half with a third consecutive road win, 71-60 over Tulsa last Thursday, with Catchings providing 23 points and nine rebounds.
"When we were losing games, there was still a focus on getting better," Catchings said. "That is starting to pay off."
Indiana could soon get Phillips back as she's listed as day-to-day, and Pohlen might return sometime in the second half. The two players have shot better than 40.0 percent from 3-point range in each of the last two seasons.
"We're just going to hope that we have Erin Phillips and Jeanette Pohlen healthy. If we can get them healthy then I think we can make a run for a playoff spot," coach Lin Dunn said.
While waiting for those players to return, Dunn's club will try to send the Sun (4-12) to a season high-tying fourth consecutive defeat. However, those past three defeats came on the road, and Connecticut went 2-1 at home in July.
The Sun have dealt with injuries to Renee Montgomery, Tan White and Kara Lawson this season, but Montgomery and White have played in each game of the team's skid. The most recent loss was 74-65 to Atlanta last Wednesday.
Connecticut has won the past three home matchups with Indiana in the regular season but lost 87-71 to the Fever at Mohegan Sun Arena in the deciding third game of the Eastern Conference finals Oct. 11.
The teams have split their two games this season, both in Indiana. The Sun's Tina Charles scored a season-high 30 points in a 73-61 victory June 12, and Catchings had 22 points and six steals in a 78-66 win July 6.
That victory was only the Fever's second in the past seven regular-season matchups with the Sun.