One of the things about writing game recaps is that we often start writing the pieces before the game is over. During the later parts of the third quarter and early into the fourth, I pretty much called this game a blowout at the Mystics' expense.
But instead, I'm eating crow, at least with the final result of this game.
The Washington Mystics were down by as many as 16 points with 6:13 left in the fourth quarter, but they came back to win against the Indiana Fever, 81-80, thanks to rookie Kayla Thornton who made the game winning free throws with 0.8 seconds left.
Jelena Milovanovic was the player who started the big run for Washington, as she scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, including eight straight points at one point. In addition, the Mystics' defense stepped up, and Fever only scored one field goal in the last six minutes of regulation. Indiana also didn't attempt a single free throw in those last six minutes, showing a lack of aggression. The Mystics had 11 free throw attempts on the other hand. So a great run by Washington's reserves, and an equally terrible one by the Fever's.
The starting units for both teams however had the opposite issue. The Fever's starting unit, without Tamika Catchings, Erlana Larkins, and Shavonte Zellous dominated the Mystics' starting five. Monique Currie, who was playing some excellent ball yesterday, didn't make any of her three shot attempts today and had just one point from one made free throw. Tianna Hawkins had three turnovers, but to her credit, she did score 18 points and was the only Mystics starter who scored in double digits. Three of Indiana's starters did on the other hand: Marissa Coleman with 21 points, Natasha Howard with 11, and Layshia Clarendon with 13.
Stefanie Dolson started once again, but she had just ONE rebound. Being in foul trouble probably hurt her impact and the fact that she's a rookie demands that we give her patience, but still, ONE rebound in nearly 16 minutes? You gotta do better than that.
Speaking about rebounding, the Mystics were outrebounded as team, 41-24. That is unacceptable, and without the run at the end, the Mystics would have been run out of Verizon Center earlier this afternoon.
So what are the takeaways here? For the Fever, the reserves really need to step up and they couldn't just disappear in the closing minutes of the game. They were clearly outworked by the Mystics' bench unit and let go of a game that should have been a blowout.
For the Mystics, it's great to see that they are outworking opponents on a consistent basis, especially the reserve units. But they need to improve their team rebounding, and their starters as a whole need to play more consistently.