Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Indiana Fever part ways with coach Marianne Stanley after 2-7 start to season

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The Indiana Fever are parting ways with head coach Marianne Stanley after two seasons with the team, the franchise announced on Wednesday. The Fever started the season 2-7, which is the second-worst record in the league. Assistant coach Carlos Knox will replace Stanley as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. 

During the time that Stanley’s been in charge of the Fever, Indiana hasn’t experienced much winning as the team has toiled at the bottom of the standings in back-to-back seasons. But this has been a problem that precedes Stanley’s coaching tenure. Since the 2017 season, the Fever have owned the league’s worst winning percentage (.256), and haven’t had a winning season since 2015. 

Entering this season, the Fever were embracing a ton of change, starting with Tamika Catchings stepping down as the team’s vice president and general manager in February. Lin Dunn has been filling her role on an interim basis, and one of her first moves was trading one of the franchise’s only productive players from a season ago, Teaira McCowan, to the Dallas Wings for draft compensation back in March. The Fever then drafted four players in the first round of this year’s draft, including No. 2 overall pick NaLyssa Smith.

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This was always seen as a building year for an incredibly young Indiana team, so it is rather surprising that Stanley was let go this early in the season. While the Fever weren’t racking up many wins, they were at least keeping things competitive in their losses compared to prior years. Most recently, Indiana gave the defending champion Chicago Sky a run for their money Tuesday night in a 95-90 loss. Indiana had a four-point lead with just under seven minutes left to play, but Chicago’s veteran presence and championship experience ultimately won out. Still, it was proof that the Fever were making forward progress in this team’s development.

However, Stanley’s departure indicates that Dunn intends on being aggressive in her pursuit of turning this team around soon. Dunn coached the Fever from 2008-14 and led the franchise to its only championship in 2012. However, since winning that title the Fever have gone downhill in terms of success. Perhaps a new coach in charge could be what this team needs to get back on the winning side of things.  

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