Sun-Fever Preview

The Associated PressJune 11, 2013

The last time the Indiana Fever and Connecticut Sun met, a berth in the WNBA finals was on the line.

The stakes are much lower this time, but these injury-plagued teams both need a win.

The Fever try to avoid their first 0-3 home start Wednesday night in a matchup of teams looking to avoid a fourth straight loss.

After knocking out Atlanta and rallying from a game down to defeat top-seeded Connecticut in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals, Indiana beat Minnesota for its first WNBA championship.

The Fever (1-3), though, are now tied with the Sun (1-3) at the bottom of the East standings as both teams are dealing with a slew of injuries.

Jessica Davenport (left leg), Erin Phillips (torn right meniscus) and Jeanette Pohlen (left ACL) aren't expected back for Indiana until midseason at the earliest, and former Sun guard Katie Douglas - third on the team with 17.5 points per game - has missed the last two contests with a bulging disc in her lower back.

If Douglas can't go Wednesday, the Fever's bench will need to take some of the scoring load off Shavonte Zellous (19.5 ppg) and Tamika Catchings (18.5).

Indiana's reserves have totaled 28 points this season after finishing with 11 in Saturday's 82-67 home loss to Phoenix.

"I think the real challenge is competing as hard as we can, getting better ... but not breaking down our starters," coach Lin Dunn, whose team hasn't dropped four straight since a six-game skid in 2007, told the Fever's official Twitter account.

First-year Sun coach Anne Donovan, the Fever's interim coach during their inaugural 2000 campaign, has injury concerns of her own, as Kara Lawson (sore back), 2012 Sixth Woman of the Year Renee Montgomery (left ankle sprain) and Tan White (broken right finger) are hurt. All three missed Friday's 66-62 loss to Washington.

"We're a no-excuse team,'' fourth-year guard Allison Hightower said. "We didn't get it done."

The Sun hope the addition of veteran guard Iziane Castro Marques will help them avoid their first four-game skid since July 30-Aug. 5, 2010. She signed Monday when the team waived Natasha Lacy.

Connecticut also added backcourt depth Monday by signing Sydney Carter under the emergency hardship clause with Montgomery and White injured.

The Fever, outrebounded by 22 during their skid, will need to contain Tina Charles, who has a double-double in each contest and leads the Sun with 19.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game.

The league's reigning MVP averaged 11.0 points and 10.0 boards in three games at Indiana a year ago, including a 78-76 Game 2 loss Oct. 8 when Zellous' jumper with 0.5 seconds helped send the series back to Uncasville.

The Sun, a league-best 13-4 on the road in 2012, have lost their two games as the visitor this season by an average of 13.5 points.