Why more Fever lineup changes? ‘A coach’s decision and we’re just gonna leave it at that.’

The Indiana Fever used their sixth different starting lineup of the year in an upset loss to the Washington Mystics. entered the starting lineup for the Indiana Fever’s midday showdown with the Washington Mystics, it marked the sixth different starting group the Fever have used in 23 games this season

. Just two games ago, Hull sat healthily on the sidelines as Indiana took a 19-point loss in Las Vegas. But after a strong two-way performance helped Indiana pull off a fourth-quarter comeback against the first-place New York Liberty, Fever coach Christie Sides started Hull for the first time this year.Insider: Fever follow best win of season with loss to WNBA’s worst. How do they bounce back?Hull started at small forward while power forward NaLyssa Smith came off the bench. Katie Lou Samuelson — who has been in and out of the starting rotation — became the starting power forward for the first time all season, instead of starting at small forward. Wednesday’s starting five of Caitlin Clark, Kelsey Mitchell, Hull, Samuelson and Aliyah Boston had played nine minutes together and been outscored by 13 before Wednesday’s outing (per WNBA.com)But the lineup alteration didn’t pay off. Hull was scoreless in the first half, and the Fever were down by 14 at the intermission to a team they’ve beaten twice this season. Smith was back on the floor with the other four starters to begin the second half. The back-and-forth second half saw the Fever’s comeback effort fall short in an 89-84 defeat.“That was a coach’s decision and we’re just gonna leave it at that,” said Sides, who declined to elaborate on the decision.The adjustment shifted the way the Fever played. When Smith is starting, both she and Boston have opportunities for post touches and inside scoring. Sides has repeatedly emphasized utilizing post play to set up the rest of the Fever’s offense. With Samuelson as the starting power forward, she spaces the floor as someone who attempts 3s at a much higher volume than Smith.ViewIndiana Fever, Caitlin Clark face off with Washington Mystics on 7/10/24Take a look at photos of Indiana Fever vs. Washington Mystics on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.On the defensive end, Indiana used Samuelson to guard Mystics center Stefanie Dolson on Wednesday. Dolson is one of the best stretch bigs in the WNBA, coming into the day shooting 49.5% from deep. With Samuelson guarding Dolson, Indiana attempted switching screens when Dolson was the screener to prevent the threat of her popping to the 3-point line. Dolson scored 13 points and was 2-of-3 from deep as the Mystics had their second-highest scoring output of the year.“I think the biggest thing is defensively, just knowing how to guard, what our schemes are,” Samuelson said of what changes when she plays power forward. “To be honest, making sure I know all the plays and all the positions. I think for me, I’m trying to just be myself, but in each role that I’m put into and step up in any way I can.”Samuelson has spent plenty of time at power forward this year, especially with forward Temi Fagbenle — who missed Wednesday’s game with a right thumb injury — being out for 12 games. But Wednesday was the first time she’s started at that spot.Nine of the Fever’s 12 players have now started a game this season. Of those nine, Fagbenle is the only one who’s missed multiple games due to injury. Clark, Mitchell and Boston are the three solidified starters (although Mitchell came off the bench for two games to start the year while rehabbing an ankle injury). The other two spots might as well be drawn out of a hat from game to game.“I don’t think you can get too caught up in who’s starting and who’s not starting,” Clark said. “That’s just basketball, that’s just what happens. It can change from game to game. I don’t make those decisions, obviously. I’m the point guard. I’m just trying to put people in positions to be successful and whatever coach goes with, that’s perfect, and everyone on the team responds to that.” The players who have gotten starting opportunities at the other two spots — Samue

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