Indianapolis – The Indiana Fever were outscored by 26 in the second half as they fell to the Washington Mystics 92-69 on Saturday night in their return to WNBA action. The second-half plunge started with a 9-0 Washington run to open the third quarter after Indiana held a 39-36 halftime lead.
“I’m disappointed in our effort,” Fever Head Coach Stephanie White said. “I thought we let it slip away. We fought to get a lead at the half, but, for whatever reason, we lost our intensity in the second half.”
Washington’s Tayler Hill led all scorers with 18 points on 4-for-8 shooting from 3-point range, including back-to-back threes in a crucial fourth-quarter moment. Emma Meeseman added 17 while Kahleah Copper chipped in 15 for the Mystics.
It was a quiet balance for Indiana in the scoring department. Five Fever players reached double figures, including Tamika Catchings, Natalie Achonwa, Erlana Larkins, Lynetta Kizer and Shenise Johnson. However, none of the five surpassed 12 points. Johnson contributed 10 points and nine rebounds while Larkins tallied 12 points and seven boards. Achonwa added a season-high 12 points in the loss.
The first half saw nine lead changes in a tight-knit contest before Washington ignited the second-half run. Indiana looked to recover as Larkins took over in the paint. The seven-year veteran scored six points in three possessions, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Mystics from scorching the nets on the other end.
“It felt like every time we got back into the game, they were hitting threes,” Larkins said. “I think everybody was feeling good about themselves tonight, as far as the Mystics were concerned.”
A buzzer-beating jumper by Marissa Coleman concluded a rough third quarter for Indiana as they trailed 60-53 heading to the fourth. Coleman notched a triple early in the final stanza to give Indiana new life, but Hill buried a pair of threes to put the Mystics in control down the stretch before they ended the game on a 23-7 run.
“We’ve got to get better,” Fever head coach Stephanie White said. “Every team that’s fighting for a playoff position is desperate and we’ve got to play with that same desperation.”
The Fever shot just 38.9 percent while Washington poured it in at a 52.5 percent clip. Indiana is now 0-8 on the year when shooting less than 40 percent.
Indiana fell to 12-13 while Washington moved to 10-15.
The Fever will continue at home this week as they host Phoenix on Tuesday, Aug. 30, before a Friday game with New York on Sept. 1. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.