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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana Pacers fans on Thursday got a look online at new security scanners coming to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

A limited number of tickets will be available for fans at Pacers home games starting with the game against the Raptors on Jan. 24.

Team mascots Boomer and Freddy Fever shared a video Thursday to demonstrate 15 new scanners installed at the Fieldhouse. They will scan guests and their bags while reducing direct contact between fans and staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

The games will also have other COVID-19 requirements for fans that include masks, physically distanced seating, and digital tickets.

For more on getting tickets and what protocols to expect at the games, visit the team’s website.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Last summer, Erica Wheeler had the entire sports world in tears.

The once-forgotten professional prospect out of Rutgers University miraculously earned a spot on her first career WNBA All-Star Game roster. 

WNBA coaches from around the league voted the point guard in — and she delivered: 25 points, 7 assists and one Most Valuable Player trophy.

“I use my mom as my motivation,” Wheeler said during the postgame interview with ESPN. “I lost her when I was in college to cancer, so I just keep moving because I know she’s watching me more than ever.”

“This one’s really for you, mom.”

With that performance, followed by the emotional words postgame, Wheeler officially had scrapped her way from a tiny professional league in Puerto Rico and into the hearts of anyone up for a good story.

“I’m so proud of her,” Fever General Manager Tamika Catchings said. “She put a post up earlier today, just kind of talking about how far along she’s come in the last five years. I would even argue, how far she’s come in the last year.”

Wheeler’s chance to follow up her career year hasn’t happened just yet. The WNBA season is set to start in July, with all teams playing in bubble format in Florida much alike the NBA’s plans during the coronavirus pandemic.  But, Wheeler is busy running the point on a more important task.

“Me and Anthony Walker from the Colts, we went and did a peaceful march and it was amazing to see more of the white community out there than the blacks,” Wheeler said. “Nobody’s expecting the world to change completely in one night.”

“If anybody knows that, I know that, because just coming from my career. It takes four or five years to get where you want to be.”

Statistically, Erica Wheeler is one of the top-two undrafted players in WNBA history.

However, her lasting legacy in Indiana may have just come two weeks ago.

During a joint virtual town hall meeting between the Pacers and Fever, Wheeler shared her life story and much of what she has had to deal with in her daily life as an African American woman.

Her words brought tears across the two clubs. 

“I want to personally thank someone, right now, from the bottom of my heart,” Pacers President Kevin Pritchard said during a zoom call that followed with local media. “When Erica spoke… it was part of the most powerful hour I have ever had in my entire life.”

“I think it was fitting for me to do it,” Wheeler said. “I mean, sometimes you’re just placed in a spot where you just don’t know if you’re ready, and you really are ready.”

Sometimes our dreams are delayed for a reason.

Mom knows this moment — belongs to her little girl.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana Fever’s Erica Wheeler and Candice Dupree were selected as two of the 12 reserves in the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game.

Wheeler is the only undrafted player on this year’s All-Star roster and just the fifth ever to be selected.

Wheeler reflected on her recent All-Star status and the long road she took to get there. “This moment is surreal. It’s one thing to make the WNBA, you know, to not get drafted and make the WNBA, but to be acknowledged as one of the best in the league when my path was probably one of the hardest.”

Erica Wheeler watches as her Indiana Fever teammates practice following her selection to the 2019 WNBA All-Star Reserves. (WISH Photo)

She’s joined by her teammate and 14-year WNBA veteran Candice Dupree, who earned her seventh All-Star selection.

Dupree said, “When you’re out there playing with and competing against the league’s best players … but another notch on the belt I guess for me.”

Candice Dupree takes the court in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. She is playing in the All-Star game for the seventh time in her career, second time with the Fever. (WISH Photo)

The Fever are 6-12 on their season and fifth in the Eastern Conference.

“We need to understand that, despite some of the losses, that there is some good in some of the tough times and maybe this energy will galvanize them and really get us going,” Head Coach Pokey Chapman said.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nneka Ogwumike had 22 points, six rebounds and six steals to lead the Los Angeles Sparks past the Indiana Fever 90-84 on Friday night.

Candace Parker sat out for Los Angeles (8-7) because of an ankle injury.

Chiney Ogwumike added 19 points and nine rebounds to help Los Angeles snap a three-game road losing streak. Chelsea Gray had 15 points and six assists. Los Angeles led 45-35 at halftime and scored 31 points in the third quarter for a 76-52 advantage.

Erica Wheeler and Shenise Johnson each scored 11 points for Indiana (6-11), which lost for the 10th time in 13 games. The Fever turned it over 20 times.

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw sat courtside.

PHOENIX (AP) — Brittney Griner scored 23 points, Leilani Mitchell had 18 points and 11 assists for her first career double-double and the Phoenix Mercury beat the Indiana Fever 91-69 on Friday night.

Griner had 17 points in the first half to help build a 50-38 lead, and Phoenix (4-5) opened the fourth quarter on an 18-4 run to make it 89-61.

Rookie Sophie Cunningham added a season-high 19 points, and DeWanna Bonner had 15 for Phoenix. The Mercury shot 52%l, including 10 of 17 from 3-point range, to improve to 4-0 when having at least three players reach double-figure scoring.

Candice Dupree led Indiana (5-8) with 15 points, Kelsey Mitchell had 13 and Betnijah Laney 12. The Fever lost for the third straight time, remaining one victory behind their win total from last season.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Fever have hired former White House adviser Allison Barber as its new president and chief operating officer and promoted former star Tamika Catchings to vice president of basketball operations.

Barber replaces Kelly Krauskopf, who became assistant general manager of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers in December. Barber has been serving as chancellor of Western Governors University Indiana.

She also was deputy assistant secretary of defense and special detail to the Office of Global Communications in the White House during part of the George W. Bush administration.

Barber begins her new job on March 18, the Fever announced Monday.

Catchings helped Indiana win the 2012 WNBA title and earned Finals MVP honors. She also won four Olympic gold medals and the 1998 NCAA title with Tennessee.

Catchings previously served as director of player programs and franchise development. She currently serves as co-chair of the local organizing committee board for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game in Indianapolis.

“Bringing Allison to our franchise and watching Tamika step into a larger role has leadership written all over it,” said Fever general manager and coach Pokey Chatman. 

Catching said, “It’s been an awesome journey. When I got finished playing, everyone was like, ‘What’s next?’ We’ve established so many different things here. Honestly, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. When I sit down with my husband at night, I tell him I really want to be in Indy.”

The former Fever standout said she thinks the franchise will get back to its winning ways in the near future. 

“We have a lot of great players, being able to build off of our core group and start thinking about the other pieces that we need to add. Then I’ll start getting in the mix and figuring out what are the players and who do we want to fit that puzzle,” Catchings said.

The draft begins in April. The Fever have the third overall pick.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Candace Parker scored 15 and the Los Angeles Sparks used their defense to win their fifth straight, 74-55 over the Indiana Fever on Tuesday night.

The Fever’s offensive output was a season low in scoring as well as a season best defensively for the Sparks (9-2).

Los Angeles pulled away with 12 straight points to lead 70-53 on Chelsea Gray’s basket with 1:31 left in the game. Gray added 14 points and Nneka Ogwumike scored 12.

The Sparks remained alone atop the WNBA standings.

Natalie Achonwa had 13 points and Tiffany Mitchell scored 10 for the Fever (1-11), who were coming in off their first win of the season.

Indiana led most of the first quarter before Los Angeles took control in the second. The Sparks outscored the Fever 39-22 in the second half, holding Indiana to six points in the fourth quarter.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP/WISH) — WISH-TV’s Lauren Lowrey sang the national anthem at the Indiana Fever’s season opener Saturday at Bakers Life Fieldhouse.

Allie Quigley scored 19, Diamond DeShields added 18 points in her WNBA debut, and the Chicago Sky beat the Indiana Fever 82-64.

Chicago led 36-34 at halftime and held the lead throughout the second half. Indiana got within 58-54 on Erica Wheeler’s driving layup with 7:19 left in the fourth quarter, but the Sky went on a 10-2 run and led by double digits the rest of the way.

DeShields, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft, was 7 of 11 from the field and made all four of her free throws. She played in Turkey this past winter foregoing her final year of college eligibility. Stefanie Dolson added 11 points and Cheyenne Parker scored 10.

Candice Dupree had 14 points, Wheeler added 13 and Tiffany Mitchell scored 11 for the Fever.

Courtney Vandersloot and Astou Ndour will rejoin the Sky after the completion of their respective international competitions.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)  – The opening game for the 2018 Indiana Fever’s season is on Saturday. 

The team is looking to improve upon their record from last year with the help of three rookies. The Fever went 9-25, finishing dead last in the WNBA Eastern Conference last year. Leaders on the team hope with three top 15 picks now on the roster that young energy will change the feel and outlook of the team. 

The first game of the season is also the start of a stretch of five games in seven days. Learning the playbook quickly will be key, according to head coach Pokey Chatman.

Those three Fever players include: Kelsey Mitchell, the 2nd overall pick from Ohio State, Victoria Vivians the 8th overall pick from Mississippi State and Stephanie Mavunga the 14th overall pick also from Ohio State. According to Chatman and veteran player Candice Dupree, the only goal is to get more wins than nine.  

“High energy, a lot of young legs. So, we have an opportunity to get up and down the court a lot but at the same time a lot of teaching and trying to get them adjusted to this level of the game and  just player personnel for other teams and what kind of schemes they’re running defensively,” said Dupree. 

“Making sure that our players coming from abroad were ready to come in and contribute,” said Chatman. “There’s been a lot of teaching but we’re trying to make them understand that we are going to play 34 games in 94 days. So, we’re not going to be able to spoon feed them so there’s a fine line between spelling everything out for them and figuring it out on their own.” 

Fans have a lot to look forward to this year as well. A new fan section at Bankers Life will feature a slide for the kids as well as other inflatable games. Not to mention if you show up to the game you’ll get to hear our very own Lauren Lowery sing the national anthem. 

For more information on the Fever, click here. 

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — After a 9-25 record last year, the Indiana Fever are back and feeling better than ever.

“We talked about the recipe. I think a good veteran mix with the three draft picks that we have…they’re eager to learn, and that’s going to be the fun part for me and my staff,” said Fever head coach Pokey Chatman.

“I think the energy, the buy-in, positive vibes, a lot of communication on and off the court. So far (it’s) been pretty exciting,” said forward Candice Dupree.

The Fever had a ton of success in the draft this offseason, picking up three of the top players in college basketball, two of them coming from Ohio State. Kelsey Mitchell and Stephanie Mavunga have some familiarity with Bankers Life Fieldhouse, having recently played in the Big Ten Tournament in the building. 

“I would say it’s just excitement. Not in the scoring piece of everything, but knowing I was familiar where I was coming to,” said Mitchell. “It would probably be different if I was going to a place that was in Las Vegas. You know, like, I’ve never been there. I’ve been here three years running when it comes to the Big Ten Tournament, so that’s always a plus.”

“Before the preseason game, Coach Pokey told me the last time we were in this gym, I had 26 (points) and 21 (rebounds) so I’d need to get out there and show the numbers that I had,” Mavunga said. “I mean, it actually brings a little bit of pressure, but at the same time I just try to play my own game, and do everything that I can do every time. I just want to get out there and compete. The team that has already been out there has already set the precedent and it’s a great one. So I’m just trying to get out there and continue what they’re doing and not make the same mistakes as the rotation prior to me, and just kinda learning from the veterans and also growing and learning as well with my other fellow rookies.”

Mavunga, a Brownsburg native, finished that preseason game with 18 points and 8 rebounds. A great way to come back home again to Indiana.