WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Indiana Fever stole the show at the 2022 WNBA Draft, selecting more first round draft picks than any other team in WNBA history. The No. 2 overall selection, NaLyssa Smith, started her WNBA career with 13 points and 13 rebounds as the Indiana Fever fell to the Washington Mystics, 84-70, to tip-off the 2022 regular season.
Smith, along with Queen Egbo and Destanni Henderson, were all in the starting lineup in their first regular season appearance. Egbo tallied 10 points and six rebounds, while Henderson finished with a team-best five assists.
Indiana reduced a 21-point third-quarter deficit down to 71-65 with 5:42 remaining in the game, but Washington would finish the game on a 13-5 run to hold off the final-quarter effort from Indiana.
The Fever were led by 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting from Kelsey Mitchell, who began her fifth season with the franchise on Friday night. Mitchell extended her league-leading streak of consecutive games with at least 10 points to 24 straight dating back to 2021. Tiffany Mitchell scored all seven of her points in the first quarter.
Off the bench, Victoria Vivians led all reserves with nine points and six rebounds. Her lone made 3-point field goal in the fourth quarter gave Vivians 100 made from beyond the arc for her career. In only 16:33 of action from Emily Engstler, the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft pulled down nine rebounds to go along with four points and two blocked shots. After being signed earlier today, Crystal Dangerfield played 18 minutes and finished with five points.
Washington overcame being outrebounded 42-31 to pick up the first win of its season. Elena Delle Donne returned from an injury-plagued season in 2021 to lead all scorers with 21 points and nine rebounds. Natasha Cloud and Ariel Atkins each pitched in 17 and 15 points respectively.
The Fever open the home portion of the regular season slate at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Sunday against the Los Angeles Sparks at 3 p.m. ET. Sunday’s game will be streamed on the Fever’s Facebook page in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.