June 17, 2024 

‘It just doesn’t happen overnight’: The Indiana Fever are steadily improving

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are the Fever

INDIANAPOLIS — Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are the Indiana Fever — but they’re showing sparks of what could be in time.

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Second-year head coach Christie Sides has said from the beginning that this squad wouldn’t instantly have the necessary chemistry. It’s a challenging process when you bring in several new players, including highly touted rookie Caitlin Clark

“I’ve tried to say it as much as possible, but it just doesn’t happen overnight,” Sides said. “We just keep getting a little bit better. That’s been my message.” 

But fans grew impatient during the first month of the season. The Fever started the 2024 campaign with five consecutive losses and were 1-8 at the end of May. With so much talent on the roster, what was going wrong?

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It’s always been an issue of time. A new group of young talent can’t build high-level chemistry in a day. Clark, though a phenomenal college player, would need time to adjust to life in the professional ranks. 

The Fever notched their fifth win of the season Sunday afternoon, 91-83 against the Chicago Sky, and have seen major improvements in both chemistry and execution on the court over the last few weeks. 

“I think that’s one of the biggest things to learn as I go through my rookie season is just finding some consistency,” Clark said. “Obviously, it’s been hard. It was a tough stretch at the beginning with the amount of games we played and the limited practice … but I feel like I’ve gotten more comfortable over the course of these games. … There’s still more than half the season left, and I already feel like we’ve grown so much.”

The connection between 2024 No. 1 pick Clark and 2023 No. 1 pick Aliyah Boston has been a bright spot among the growth as two of the best youngsters in the world have begun to find ease in playing with each other. 

“I think from the first game to now we’ve just really been able to get a great feel of playing with each other — knowing where I’m going to be, knowing where she’s going to be and being able to set those drag screens so she gets a shot off,” Boston said. “I think we’re really doing a good job of building that.” 

On Sunday, Clark had 23 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and two blocks, while Boston tallied her third consecutive double-double with 19 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and five blocks. Four Fever players scored in double digits as Clark had her best outing as a pro. 

“For these guys and the resiliency that they’ve shown in some really hard times and a really hard schedule — to keep fighting and keep showing up — I could not be more proud of them,” Sides said after the win.

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After one of the most challenging starts in the league, the Fever now have one of the easiest remaining strength of schedules in the WNBA. They’ll face the top two teams, Connecticut and New York, just once more each and both on their home court. 

“All I want these guys to do is keep improving, keep getting better, keep connecting, keep building that chemistry, and the success will take care of itself,” Sides said. “That’s just where we are. There’s a lot of season left, but what we don’t have is with Connecticut and New York — we’re not staring them in the face as many times as we did early in the season.”

There are still plenty of things to work on, like getting stops in late-game situations, but the Fever have seen massive improvements since the start of the season and are currently in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

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Written by Talia Goodman

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