January 2, 2024
Indiana Fever notebook: Grace Berger hand injury, Aliyah Boston Team USA experience, schedule release and more
It's been a busy few months for the team
It’s been a busy few months for the Indiana Fever.
The peak of it all was the team’s WNBA Draft Lottery victory in December. The franchise now owns the first selection in a draft that could have premier talent at the top, depending on which athletes decide to forgo their NCAA eligibility. Indiana could have another franchise-altering draft night in 2024.
But plenty more has happened for the Fever recently. First and foremost, their schedule for the 2024 campaign is out. They, like every team, will play 40 games. 20 are at home; 20 are on the road. Everybody knows that.
But few know how meaningful it was for the Fever to play all their games in one arena again last season after two years of chaotic scheduling due to arena construction. That continuity will extend to this season. The Fever will open the campaign on the road in Connecticut before their home opener against the New York Liberty on May 16. The crowds should be bigger this season for the red and blue.
As will expectations, but they can handle it. They have two back-to-backs, a natural consequence of the Olympic break. Fitting in 40 games into a smaller window is difficult. The Fever, and every team, will be off from July 21 through August 14 for Paris 2024. Their full schedule can be seen below.
Perhaps a Fever player could be suiting up for the red, white and blue in the Olympic games next year. More on that and other Fever topics will be broken down in this notebook.
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Aliyah Boston dons the red, white and blue
Not only did Boston get to play for the Cheryl Reeve–led squad, she got to learn a ton from the veterans who were on her team. It was a perfect addition to a growth-filled 2023 for Boston, who will be better for the experience.
“It was really nice. It was good to be on the same team as these women. They were able to help me a lot,” Boston told The Next. “They weren’t just leaving me out to dry.”
Boston also made sure to let The Next know how ridiculous it was that she was even asked what her answer would be if she is invited to play for Team USA in the Paris Olympics next year. “I wish you could put my reaction to that question to whatever you’re about to do with this!” she joked, making an incredulous face. The answer is, undoubtedly, yes.
During her time with the red, white, and blue, Boston suited up for a scrimmage against the Tennessee Lady Volunteers. Her team emerged with a 95-59 victory — Boston had six points, pulled in six rebounds and swatted three shots.
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Grace Berger suffers an injury
Fever guard Grace Berger injured her left thumb while playing overseas in Spain.
The team announced the injury in November, but the translation described it as a hand injury. Berger clarified after the draft lottery that it is actually her thumb that is hurt. “It’s my thumb. A fracture in there that needs to heal up,” she said.
She opted to return to Indianapolis because she thought the Fever could give her the best treatment possible. Her time in Spain is done. She expects to be ready for training camp in a few months and believes that she is just a few weeks away from being recovered.
“Easily,” she noted of being ready for camp. That’s good news for Indiana.
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FFever guards Kelsey Mitchell and Lexie Hull both played in 3-on-3 events during the offseason.
They earned the gold medal after taking down Brazil in the title game. They finished the event with an undefeated record, and Mitchell played a big role in her team’s semifinal win over Canada. She scored nine points in that victory.
Hull, meanwhile, played for Team USA in the 3-on-3 event at the Pan American Games. They also took home the gold medal after defeating Colombia in the title game.
They played their games down in Santiago, Chile. They, too, finished with a 5-0 record. Hull shared the court with Azurá Stevens, Blake Dietrick and Cierra Burdick. Hull had five points in the championship game and added to her 3-on-3 experience.
“It was just really special,” Hull told The Next. Her sister got to come watch her play, which she enjoyed. It was her first time in South America. “From what we saw, it was amazing.”
Free agency is rapidly approaching for Indiana. It will be a key period for the growing team. In the meantime, their offseason has featured a ton of growth as their young players get experience elsewhere.