The Washington Mystics started their three game home stand off with a win over the visiting Indiana Fever 91-78. Elena Delle Donne had 22 points and eight rebounds, Emma Meesseman scored 19 off the bench and Kristi Toliver had a career high 11 assists in the win. LaToya Sanders added 16 points as well.
Indiana were led by Kelsey Mitchell, she scored 13 of her 18 points in the first half and Candice Dupree scored 16 points.
The Mystics got off to a great start, using their defense to jump out to an 11-2 lead. The Fever didn’t go away, their second unit came in and closed the quarter strong. Washington would lead 25-16 after the first period, but the tide had started to change. Mitchell got going offensively and Tierra McCowan made an impact upon entering the game. The rookie center was able to protect the rim and put stress on Washington’s bigs simply with her presence.
Indiana would erase the once double-digit deficit with 3:05 left in the first half, but Delle Donne steadied her team a bit before the halftime buzzer with a couple of big shots. Washington would lead 44-42 at halftime.
Several players identified their defense or lack there of for the big run by Indiana in the second quarter, clearly it was discussed at the half because the Mystics started the third quarter fully engaged on that end.
Washington started the second half on a 14-6 run, going on to win the quarter 29-15. Natasha Cloud hit a couple of triples, Aerial Powers hit one and drew a shooting foul while attempting a three. Still it was the intensity picking up on the defensive end of the floor that allowed Washington to create separation in the second half.
From there the teams traded baskets for much of the final period, Emma Meesseman seems to be growing more comfortable in her new role off the bench. She scored 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor. That transition takes time, but she seems to be finding her way.
The Mystics host the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday afternoon, they can’t have any lulls like the second quarter against that group.