By Cardell Dudley
In a game that will be remembered more for a halftime dance contest due to a 48 minute delay caused by a leak in the Capital One Arena roof, Krystal Thomas dominated inside with a career high 20 points and game high 14 rebounds to lead Washington to a 100-80 win over the Indiana Fever, improving to 16-10 on the season.
Mystics jumped on the Fever from the opening tip led by their quickly improving rookie guard Shatori Walker Kimbrough (13 points) with a 16-5 lead at the 4:50 mark of the first. It wasn’t Walker Kimbrough’s aggressiveness on the offensive end that turned heads, it was her lock down defense. The rookie out of Maryland help hold Fever wings Marissa Coleman and Jazmon Gwathmey to a combined 4 of 18 shooting for the game. Soon, a balanced attack from forward Emma Meesseman, Thomas and Kristi Toliver guided Washington to a 28-16 first quarter lead.
The Fever responded in the second behind the shooting from reserves Jeanette Pohlen Mavunga (12 points) and rookie Erica McCall (12 points and 5 rebounds) to make it competitive, however the Mystics thanks to a hot Ivory Latta (13 points, 3-4 3FG) and relentless Allison Hightower (10 points , 4-8 FG) maintained a double digit lead at the half, 49-36.
After an entertaining halftime delay, Fever forward Candice Dupree put the team on her back. Dupree went on a scoring onslaught, scoring 20 of her game high 26 points in the second half, helping the Fever stay in the game. Washington just wouldn’t be denied, finishing off the Fever in large part due to their most efficient shooting performance (57% from the field, 58% from 3-point range and 88% from the stripe) of the season. Meesseman, working on a triple double, posted 15 points (7-14 FG), 7 assist and 6 rebounds while Toliver added 9 points (4-5 FG) and 6 assist respectively.
With the win, Washington now sit in fourth place in the WNBA playoff race while also keeping pace with the East leading 17-9 Connecticut Sun, who clinched a playoff berth Saturday evening. Game also marked the return of guard Natasha Cloud. Washington will next host the defending Champions LA Sparks, Wednesday August 16th at 7 p.m.