Indianopolis, IN — The Indiana Fever (12-13) returned to Bankers Life Fieldhouse tonight after a five-week Olympic break. Indiana welcomed home forward veteran Tamika Catchings, who tied the United States Women’s Basketball record with her fourth Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. However, after winning five of their last six games, the Fever was broken by the Washington Mystics (10-15) who left Indiana with a 92-69 victory.
A layup from Catchings put Indiana on the board early, and the Mystics opened their scoring with back-to-back threes from forward Emma Meessemen and guard Tayler Hill. Washington capitalized off of free throws, going 6-for-6, and went on a 10-2 run late in the first quarter -- holding the Fever scoreless for two minutes.
Though Indiana shot at a 43 percent efficiency compared to the Mystics’ 37 percent, Washington held a 22-20 lead after the first 10 minutes of play. Meessemen led all scorers with nine points.
The second quarter was a back-and-forth battle, with eight lead changes, and 14 total turnovers – (Indiana, 8; Washington, 6). With a steal on one end, and three-point play on the other, Hill gave the Mystics an early 4-point lead. With four minutes to play, Catchings hit a three-pointer to reclaim the Fever lead, 29-28, putting her two treys away from marking 600 career threes.
Washington’s shot percentage dropped to 32 percent, but they continued to get to the free throw line, knocking down seven more from the charity stripe. Indiana went 42 percent from the field, and held a 39-36 lead at the half. Fever guard Shenise Johnson led all scorers with 10 points.
The Mystics came out of the gates on a 9-0 run, holding Indiana to a scoreless four and a half minutes, and taking a 6-point lead. Fever center Erlana Larkins cut the deficit to four with a layup, adding six points in the third quarter, leading Indiana with 12 points.
Washington increased its shot percentage to 42 percent, with Meesseman leading all scorers with 13 points, while the Fever was 40 percent efficient from the field. A buzzer-beater layup by Indiana guard Marissa Coleman cut the Fever deficit to 60-53 heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
Indiana came into the final 10 minutes of play on fire, putting up seven straight points from the field. It wasn’t long before the Mystics worked their way back to the lead, going on a 13-1 run, by the last two minutes of the game, opened up a 22-point lead. Hill added eight points in the fourth quarter, hit her fourth three of the game, and led all scorers with 18 points.
Alongside Hill was Meesseman with 17 points, and rookie guard Kahleah Copper, who put up seven points in the quarter, and finished with 17 career-high points. A 53 percent overall efficiency from the field, and nine three-pointers compared to the Fever’s two, propelled Washington to a 92-69 victory.
The Mystics final 10 games are split between the road and the Verizon Center, where they are 4-8 this season. They will host the San Antonio Stars tomorrow at 7pm.