INDIANAPOLIS — Veterans and rookies are uniting in Indianapolis to improve on last-place 2018 season. Candice Dupree is in her 14th year in the league, and is equally as excited for this year as 2019 Mississippi State grad Teaira McCowan.
“With a team this young, it’s a one day at a time kind of thing,” Dupree said Monday at the Fever’s media day blitz. “We have to get to know everyone offensively after we’ve been apart or have never even played together.”
The Fever have already shown that they can be competitive this season, as they’ve won their three preseason games already. The Fever start their season Friday in New York and open Bankers Life FieldHouse June 1 for the home opener against the New York Liberty.
Anyone on the roster knows what the team’s biggest focal point has to be for a realistic shot to make the playoffs; defense. Knowing your plays, where to make blocks happen, stopping shooters in their tracks. The Fever are creating a gameplan around those things.
“Gritty Indiana defense. That’s what we want to play,” McCowan said. That theme echoed around the auditorium.
McCowan, the 6’7″ center, pointed out some the differences in between college ball and playing at the professional level “Screening and rolling has been a big change for me. At State, I wasn’t doing, So now it’s about getting my timing right, my positioning right. In the W’, there’s a lot of players my height or taller, you have to do something different.”
Shenise Johnson is returning from an ACL injury in what she says is ‘the best shape of my life.” Johnson is confident that her rehabilitation was successful. “Taking a step back from the game has really helped me see it with fresh eyes. I’m back. It’s a different joy in my life. I can be better, like better times two. It’s about being efficient.”
Joining Johnson in the guard role is Erica Wheeler. When asked about how she felt going into her sixth pro season, she said “I feel amazing, you know? Because we already won. We left Texas last night with a win. The team is rolling in such a short period of time, we’re showing a lot of grit.”
Grit is what got the Fever out of a 17 point deficit and earn a W, according to Wheeler. “We can make a lot of people second guess themselves with our presence, with this defense we’re running.”