Indiana Fever opens vs. Charlotte Sting

The WNBA's Indiana Fever opened their 2005 season Sunday night in Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis as they hosted the Charlotte Sting. Former Commodores Sheri Sam and Jenni Benningfield meet.

Like the other teams in the WNBA, the Fever strives to make their games an enjoyable experience for fans of all ages. Sunday night's opening game was no exception.

An hour and a half before gametime, fans are already starting to gather in the plaza outside of the Fieldhouse.

Inside, a banner proclaiming the theme for the season, "Girls of Summer", hangs above the court.

Before the game begins, the main concourse is bustling with activity as the fans enter the arena. Live beach music adds to the festive atmosphere.

A juggler entertains fans as they stroll through the concourse.

Freddy Fever gives a young fan a big hug. A little while later, she would electrify the crowd with her rousing rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner.

As part of their partnership with the Fever, the Salvation Army silently ring their bells.

These fans took advantage of the McDonald's Family Night promotion sponsored by the Indianapolis Star - four tickets, four vouchers for meals and four t-shirts for one low price. The children are holding the signs that they made at the "Make Your Own Poster" table.

Meanwhile, the teams warm up on the court The Sting's Charlotte Smith stops to sign a few autographs for fans as she headed back to the locker room.

Fever rookie Jenni Benningfield smiles as she talks with Fever veteran Natalie Williams during warm-ups.

Sting veteran Sheri Sam guards Fever rookie Tan White in the first half. The Fever had jumped out to an early lead, but the Sting battled back to take a 30-29 halftime lead.

Whether you call it magic, or you call it dance, Quick Change provided dazzling halftime entertainment.

Veteran point guard Tully Bevilaqua, another new addition to the Fever this season, directs traffic in the second half while Coach Brian Winters watches the action.

Charlotte's veteran point guard Dawn Staley and Fever rookie Yolanda Paige look on as Tamika Catchings shoots free throws early in the second half.

The Sting maintained their narrow lead for most of the second half. Then a pair of free throws by Jurgita Streimikyte, who returned to the Fever for the first time since the 2001 season, tie the game, and then the Fever edges ahead.

In the closing minutes, the Fever lead continued to grow, and when the final buzzer sounded, the scoreboard happily proclaimed "FEVER WIN!!!!" The teams huddle one last time, the Fever Inferno dance team celebrates, and the Fever fans head home happy.

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Photographs copyright 2005 by WhitneyD for Top Stories