Stars end season with gritty road win over Fever

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INDIANAPOLIS – The San Antonio Stars closed out the 2017 season with a 75-71 win over the Indiana Fever in front of 9,420 fans at Bakers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday night.

The result is a bright spot for San Antonio to build on for next season after experiencing growing pains for much of the 2017 season. Rookie guard and No. 1 overall pick Kelsey Plum and No. 5 pick Nia Coffey were brought in and Vickie Johnson began her first full season as Head Coach.

San Antonio controlled the game in the second half. The Stars outscored Indiana 27-19 in the third quarter and 47-39 in the third and fourth quarters combined. Kayla McBride had two big three point plays to seal the win for the Silver and Black.

“The first half was a little shaky,” Johnson said. “The second half we came out and we played Stars basketball.”

McBride led the Stars with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Kayla Alexander added 11 and Plum chipped in 11 points and five assists for San Antonio, who won eight games in a season for the first time since 2015.

With Indiana on an 8-0 run, McBride put together two huge shots for the Stars to build their lead back up to 10. From there free throws would be key for San Antonio, who would never be in danger again.

The Fever were led by Natalie Achonwa, who scored 18 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Candace Dupree added 19 for Indiana (9-25), who will miss out on the WNBA Playoffs.

“I saw a lot of improvement out of individual players,” Indiana coach Pokey Chapman said. “We weathered the storm with a lot players out of position the last few weeks. We need to get better in the offseason.”

For San Antonio, they finish the 2017 season with a record of 8-26. The Stars finished 6-11 at home and 2-15 on the road. Going into the offseason, the main question surrounds Head Coach Vickie Johnson, who contract was good for the 2017 season only.

“Despite the record it was bigger than that for us,” Johnson said. “We were trying to build and we did. We built a foundation, a solid foundation where we come to work, we play, we leave everything on the floor. I thought that tonight we did that.”

The health of Moriah Jefferson is a question mark as well. The highlights included the improvement of Plum and the outstanding play from McBride.

“It’s been not the ideal situation and we all know that,” Plum said. “We’re just trying to stick together. So I think for offseason we’re all playing on our different overseas teams, but everyone is going to go their separate ways and get better, staying in contact, come back and be a force to be reckoned with.”

  • Game notes: Kayla McBride posted the second double-double of her career with 28 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Kelsey Plum scored 11 points and finished her rookie season by scoring in double figures in three consecutive games and 14 times in the season.

Up next: The Stars will now prepare for the 2018 WNBA Draft with the Draft lottery. San Antonio currently has a 44.4 percent chance at landing the No. 1 overall pick next spring.

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Stephen Anderson is a writer and editor for the Project Spurs Network. He joined the PS team back in 2014 as a staff writer with Project Spurs and has taken over as editor for network sites Stars Hoops, Rampage Central, and Red Black 90. Stephen graduated from the University of the Incarnate Word in 2017 with a degree in Communications Arts, specializing in Journalism and Public Relations. He is a credentialed media member for the San Antonio Stars, Rampage, and San Antonio FC.

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