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Fever fire head coach Marianne Stanley after 2-7 start

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The Indiana Fever's youth movement is getting another coach.

After a 2-7 start, the team announced Wednesday that head coach Marianne Stanley is no longer with the team, with assistant Carlos Knox taking over as interim head coach for the rest of the season.

Stanley, who was reportedly in the final year of her contract, was in her third season of coaching the Fever and will end her Indiana tenure with a rough 14-42 record. She took over a team that had hit hard times after 12 consecutive playoff appearances between 2005 and 2016, but things didn't exactly get better.

This was Stanley's second stint as a WNBA head coach, previously helming the Washington Mystics in 2002 and 2003. At 68, she had been the league's second-oldest coach, behind only her eventual replacement in D.C., Mike Thibault. She was also a college head coach for more than 20 years, with stops including USC, Stanford and Cal.

Stanley is scheduled to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in September.

Apr 2, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA;  Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and Indiana Fever head coach Marianne Stanley speaks during a press conference at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Marianne Stanley is out after two full seasons with the Fever. (Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports)

Meanwhile, it will be a quick promotion for Knox, who joined the Fever last offseason. He had previously worked for the team as a player development coach, and that will probably be his first and foremost responsibility for the remainder of the season.

Where will Fever's rookies take them?

The Fever, who posted a WNBA-worst 6-26 record last season, had to have known there would be growing pains this year.

The team rebuilt via a plethora of picks in the 2022 WNBA draft. They made four of the 12 selections in the first round, a group headlined by second overall pick NaLyssa Smith out of Baylor.

Opening night saw the Fever start three rookies — Smith, No. 10 pick Queen Egbo and second-rounder Destanni Henderson — while No. 4 pick Emily Engstler and No. 6 pick Lexie Hull came off the bench. The end result hasn't been pretty; the Fever currently rank in the bottom three in offensive rating (96.1), defensive rating (105.5), assist percentage (61.0), turnover percentage (21.8) and true shooting (49.7), the last of which they rank dead last.

The Fever directly pointed to that collection of young players in explaining the move in its release:

“With this new group of players, it is time for our organization to go in a different direction. This was a difficult decision, and we wish Marianne the very best in the future,” said Lin Dunn, Fever interim general manager.

There is obviously still plenty of time for the Fever's rookies to develop, but the team clearly did not believe Stanley was the person to oversee the effort.