July 6, 2023 

What the Indiana Fever are getting in Amanda Zahui B.

Queen Egbo to Washington, experience and shooting coming back to Indiana

The Indiana Fever and Washington Mystics agreed to a challenge trade on Tuesday that swapped two centers. But the skillsets are very different. The Fever sent Queen Egbo, the 10th overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft, to the Mystics while Washington sent Amanda Zahui B. to Indiana. There were no draft picks or other assets involved in the deal.

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“Amanda’s versatility and ability to play the four and the five spot make her a great addition for the Indiana Fever,” Fever general manager Lin Dunn said in a team-issued statement.

That positional versatility that Dunn highlighted is a part of the motivation for doing the trade on Indiana’s side. Egbo has almost exclusively played the five for Indiana, and with Aliyah Boston and NaLyssa Smith in the mix, that left her with limited opportunities. In the Fever’s final game before the deal, Egbo played for just 2:57 in total. She hadn’t reached 10 minutes in an outing since early June, Indiana’s ninth game of the campaign.

During her rookie season, Egbo was solid. Her defense and rebounding stood out, and she averaged 7.2 points per game on top of it. For her efforts, she was named to the WNBA All-Rookie Team.

The addition of Boston limited her opportunities, though, so the Fever opted to get older and add experience to the team, along with a player comfortable accepting a backup role.

“Looking forward to getting Amanda into Indy,” Fever head coach Christie Sides said on Wednesday. “We’ve got nine first-and-second-year players … adding a veteran to this group I really think is going to be a positive for us.”

Zahui B., 29, was the second overall pick in the 2015 draft. In her last full WNBA season, back in 2021, she averaged 9.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. This year, her numbers and minutes have been down significantly with Washington.

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One thing that Zahui B. does that Egbo did not do is take 3-point shots. The Swedish big averages nearly two 3-point attempts per game for her career, and in her most recent two full seasons, that number is over four. That skill could allow her to provide a different element with Indiana’s second unit, and the Fever need to get up a few more outside shots as a team.

“She’s smart. She can post. She can shoot it. She can defend,” Sides said. “I think there’s a lot of tools that she has that we’re going to be able to utilize.”

This is the first in-season trade of the WNBA season. Dunn and the Indiana Fever clearly were motivated to get a veteran in the door and change up the look of the frontcourt rotation. Given Egbo’s age and potential, she has more trade value on paper, but that value could be lower to Indiana specifically.

“This job is really hard. Opportunities come and go. I’m really excited to see what she can do in Washington,” Fever wing Lexie Hull, who was also drafted in 2022, said of Egbo. “Really excited for her, and obviously really sad to not be next to her anymore. Big fan of hers.”

Sides and Hull both wished Egbo the best. The second-year post player has averaged 2.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game so far this season.

Zahui B., meanwhile, has averaged 2.0 points and 1.4 rebounds per game this year. The hope for the Fever is that the versatility she brings, combined with her seven years of experience, will make her more of an asset for the roster.

“She’s a great player. She has beautiful footwork,” Zahui B. said of Boston earlier this season before complimenting the rest of the Indiana team.

The path forward for the Fever now features a more balanced blend of veterans and youngsters. Zahui B. joins Emma Cannon, Erica Wheeler, and Kelsey Mitchell as experienced voices for the team.

Zahui B. is a free agent after this season, while Egbo is signed through 2024 with a team option for 2025. As a result, Indiana has more cap room coming their way in the 2024 offseason, where they will have the room to potentially make multiple significant additions in free agency.

The Indiana Fever are currently 5-12 and on a five-game losing streak. A new voice, and player, could help them get back on track, with their next game coming, fittingly, against Egbo and the Mystics on Friday.

Written by Tony East

Indiana Fever reporter based in Indianapolis. Enjoy a good statistical-based argument.

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