The Washington Mystics remained undefeated on this home stand, beating the visiting Indiana Fever 76-62. It would be their third win in a row, second at home and handing the Fever their third straight loss. For the second consecutive game, the Mystics got a balanced scoring attack with three starters in double figures and three players off the bench scoring at least six points. Tayler Hill led the team with 16 points, while Emma Meesseman and Ivory Latta had 12 points a piece.
Offensively isn’t where the job was done, Washington was lights out on the defensive end. Only one Fever starter scored in double figures, they held them to 38% from the floor, but more importantly 11% from the three point line. Their defensive intensity the last two games helped set the tone, especially during their rally in the second quarter.
Tamika Catchings was that one starter, she scored 10 points. A bulk of Indiana’s points came from a trio off the bench in Lynetta Kizer, Deveraux Peters, and Erica Wheeler. They scored 18, 7, and 10 respectively. The Fever team didn’t respond well to Washington’s physical play, spent more time talking with the refs than competing which is a rarity. They are typically the team that is competing so hard that their opponents take a step back, at least that’s how this matchup used to go. As Kia Vaughn stated after the game, the Mystics chose to”hit back” and it worked.
Washington kept control in the fourth after earning a three point lead to end the third quarter. Their defense remained solid, from the bigs to the guards they were all on the same page. Kia Vaughn made her presence felt with her interior defense, she even flashed her quick hands stripping Kizer near the top of the arc. Ivory Latta hit a big triple to push Washington’s lead to nine with six minutes left in the contest. Their defense would lead to a couple of transition opportunities, Indiana was in the penalty with 3:28 left in the game. An Emma Meesseman layup would push the lead to 13 with 3:10 to go. From there it was the foul game as the Fever were in the penalty, the Mystics would handle their end of the job for their second consecutive home win of the season.
It was a start typical of anytime these two teams match up, a slow quarter full of intense defense. At one time both teams were shooting 50%, that would drop to 38.5% for Washington and 36.8% for Indiana. Emma Meesseman was the most aggressive starter in the period, while Ivory Latta and Kahleah Copper attacked off the bench. The Fever were led early by Marissa Coleman and Devereaux Peters provided a couple of shots off the bench for Indiana.
It was another member of the Fever that got going in the second period, former Maryland Terrapin Lynetta Kizer. She had eight points early in the quarter, the Mystics would start to turn things around after going down by nine points. Stefanie Dolson was taken down on the baseline while pursuing a rebound by the Fever’s Natalie Achonwa. It was ruled a flagrant foul, giving Dolson two free throws and the Mysitcs the ball back. That would ignite the home team as they tried to cut down the deficit. Natasha Cloud got trapped by two Indiana players, kept her head about her and stepped through the trap to get the ball to Dolson. She would loft a touch pass to a cutting Tierra Ruffin-Pratt for the layup. A 10-0 Washington run helped them regain the lead momentarily, but Kizer kept on scoring. The Mystics would go into the half trailing 35-34 after a tough baseline drive and finish from Natasha Cloud.
The Fever used a strong start to the third quarter to get back into the game. After going down by seven, they stopped fouling on defense and started to shut down the Mystics attack. Kizer kept them afloat with her hot shooting, knocking down nearly everything between 13-18 feet. Outside of fouls made by Washington, the Fever struggled to get open looks, especially when in rhythm. The Mystics continued to fight, regaining the lead and holding on 50-47 going into the final period.