|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CT23:00 , July 31, 2020
IMG Academy Gymnasium, Bradenton, Florida
A strong start is imperative to every team in the WNBA. Perhaps more so for the Dallas Wings and Indiana Fever.
Each club looks to build on its first victory of the season Friday night when they meet at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
After missing the playoffs in 2019, Indiana and Dallas must each prove itself when it comes to being a serious postseason contender during this unique campaign. That means the Fever and Wings likely need to play well right out of the gate.
After each squad dropped its season opener at the "Wubble," both were able to bounce back.
Following a 101-76 opening rout at the hands of defending league champion Washington, Indiana (1-1) looked much better during Wednesday's 106-100 victory over a Phoenix team that boasts three of the WNBA's best in Brittany Griner, Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith.
Tiffany Mitchell had 24 points, Candice Dupree scored 23 while pulling down nine rebounds and Teaira McCowan added 20 with 10 boards as the Fever shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and went 9 of 22 from beyond the 3-point arc.
"Nobody wants to start off the season 0-2," Dupree, averaging 18.0 points and 6.5 points on the young season, said via the Fever's official Facebook page. "I think 0-1 was bad enough for us. We knew that we didn't play up to the level we can (against Washington). So, we just wanted to come out and play aggressive.
"Coach (Marianne Stanley) impressed upon us that we need to have a sense of urgency. It's only been two games, but the season goes by fast. So, we're going to try to get as many wins as we can. We've got a long road."
Dallas (1-1) might be in the same position.
After losing 105-95 to Atlanta in their opening contest, the Wings came through with a 93-80 victory over New York on Wednesday. Arike Ogunbowale scored 20 and Dallas knocked down half of its 72 shot attempts to overcame 33 points from Liberty star rookie Sabrina Ionescu.
While the Wings find themselves amid a rebuild with a young, but potentially talented roster, Ogunbowale remains the focal point. Through the first two games, she's averaged 19.5 points.
Dallas dropped all three meetings versus Indiana last season. Ogunbowale played in two of those and totaled just 21 points.
Indiana's Mitchell has averaged 21.5 points through two games. She averaged 13.3 in those three against the Wings in 2019.
Updated July 30, 2020