Game Recap: Fever 80, Mystics 100

WASHINGTON — Krystal Thomas scored a career-high 20 points and had a game-high 14 rebounds to lead the Washington Mystics past the Indiana Fever and a leaky roof at Capitol One Arena, Saturday night. The Mystics’ 100-80 win was its third straight victory over Indiana and its fourth game eclipsing the century mark. It was the first time in 2017 Indiana allowed 100 points.

Thomas made 7-of-8 shots from the floor and was perfect on six free throws to lead Washington, fourth in the WNBA standings, to its fifth win in six games, and its 10th in the last 12 on its home floor. Indiana dropped a second straight road contest and fell for the 12th time in the past 14 games.

Washington raced to an 18-5 lead in the game’s first six minutes, and hit 10-of-15 shots in the opening period for a 28-16 lead at the first quarter break. The Mystics pushed their lead to 18 midway through the second period and, but for a lengthy “rain delay” due to storms in the area and leaking roof, Indiana barely challenged thereafter.

“Once again, we allowed Washington to be comfortable early in the game and get some momentum,” said Fever coach Pokey Chatman, whose team shot 44 percent from the floor, but surrendered 58 percent shooting and a 35-25 rebounding edge. “We allowed 28 points in the first quarter. After the delay, I thought we had some energy, but we didn’t do enough to keep their players from doing what they wanted on their offensive end of the floor.”

Teams went to the locker room with Washington leading 49-36 at intermission. But when they returned, game officials deemed the playing floor unsafe, and a 20-minute delay ensued while arena staff worked to dry the floor and repair leaks. Following a second evaluation and a 5-minute warmup, play resumed after a 48-minute delay.

Erica Wheeler promptly scored five quick points on Indiana’s first two second-half possessions, drawing Indiana within 49-41. It was the Fever’s smallest deficit since the game’s opening moments, but after Shatori Walker-Kimbrough’s 3-pointer for Washington, the Fever never got closer.

The Mystics led 75-61 after three quarters and pushed their lead as high as 27 points while coasting to the win.

Five different Mystics players scored in double figures as Washington led wire-to-wire and was aided by 10 3-pointers. Emma Meeseman scored 15 points, Walker-Kimbrough and Ivory Latta each added 13 and Allison Hightower had 10.

Indiana got 26 points from All-Star forward Candice Dupree, who averages 23.7 in her last three games. Stanford products Erica McCall and Jeanette Pohlen each registered 12 points for Indiana and Jazmon Gwathmey netted 10. Pohlen-Mavunga connected on three 3-pointers to produce her first double-digit scoring effort since 2013.

Indiana utilized its ninth different starting lineup of the season, with Marissa Coleman and Gwathmey plugging holes for Briann January and Tiffany Mitchell, absent with right knee pain. For Gwathmey, it was her first start since joining the Fever this season, and came on the same floor as her first career start last year with San Antonio.

Including January and Mitchell, the game was absent five different starters between the two clubs, including All-Star forward Elena Delle Donne who remains out for the Mystics following surgery on her thumb. Indiana’s Shenise Johnson and Washington’s Tayler Hill both are out for the season with a torn ACL injuries.

Indiana continues a three-game string of road games at Minnesota next Friday.

Highlights

Indiana Fever at Washington Mystics
Candice Dupree led the Fever with 26 points and eight boards.
Jeanette Pohlen-Mavunga connected on three triples and finished with 12 points.
Rookie Erica McCall had a career night with 12 points and five rebounds.
In her first start for Indiana, Jazmon Gwathmey scored 10 points.