So Close in D.C., But Mystics Prevail in Extra Sessions

STAR OF THE GAME
TAMIKA CATCHINGS
Playing 45 out of 50 minutes and hitting a deep 3-pointer to send the game to its first overtime, Catchings paced Indiana with 20 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and a pair of steals. Catchings shot 6-of-14 from the floor including three 3-pointers. It was her second double-double effort the past four days.
UNSUNG HERO
DEANNA JACKSON
One of two reserves in double figures, Jackson's drive and soft jumper sent the game to its second overtime. In 24 minutes off the bench, she finished with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting.
QUOTABLE
BRIAN WINTERS
On the finish and the end of three games in four days:
“We fought and battled all night and it’s a shame to let things get away during that second overtime. Playing on the road is always tough. We’ve played three games in four days and it seems that every game lately has gone to the wire. I thought we relaxed on the perimeter and when they hit those two threes to start the last period, we just couldn’t recover again. I applaud our effort. We did a good job to come back and force the overtime at the end of regulation, when we trailed by seven. We just got ourselves down too often. We had a lofty goal to win all three games this week, and we took that goal all the way into double OT in the final game. I’m proud of our team.”

On falling behind in the second OT:
“I thought our energy was good, but we fell behind to start the game, and again late in regulation. Then when we fell behind in the second OT, we turned the ball over twice and starting shooting threes a little early. When the shots didn’t fall and [Washington] started going to the foul line, we had our backs to the wall without enough time to recover again.”

On the break after three games in four days:
“We don’t play again until Friday, and we have five straight home games. We’re looking forward to coming back to Indianapolis.”

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Fever 28, Mystics 20
Fast-break points:
Fever 6, Mystics 5
Second-chance points:
Fever 18, Mystics 6
Points off turnovers:
Mystics 24, Fever 15
Starters scoring:
Mystics 81, Fever 47
Bench scoring:
Fever 31, Mystics 7
RELATED LINKS
Box Score | WNBA Recap
GAME REPORT
Mystics 88, Fever 78
(2ot)

June 18, 2005 at MCI Center (Washington, D.C.)

WASHINGTON—-Playing its third game in four days, and riding a three-game win streak, the Indiana Fever forced one overtime and then a second, but Charlotte Smith-Taylor came alive during the game's final five minutes to lead the Washington Mystics to an 88-78 WNBA victory over Indiana.

One of five Mystics starters in double figures, Smith-Taylor scored just three baskets - but all were 3-pointers and two came on consecutive possessions to begin the second overtime session. Indiana, meanwhile, misfired on each of its first three possessions of the final session and Tameka Johnson’s jumper commanded the Mystics (4-6) to an eight-point advantage, 81-73, with 1:17 to play. The Fever got on the board for the first time in the second OT when Tamika Catchings hit a pair of free throws with 1:06 to play, but it was too little, too late, as the Mystics won for the second time in five games and became the first Eastern Conference team to beat the Fever.

The Fever (7-4) is off to its best start in franchise history, but played its third overtime game of the season and its fourth consecutive game decided in OT or by an official's video review at the end of regulation. Two of Indiana's four losses have come in double overtime on the road.

Leading the Mystics from start-to-finish and playing through early foul trouble was Johnson, Washington's diminutive-yet-sensational rookie point who led all scorers with a career-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting. She also posted a game-high seven assists while playing across the floor from Fever rookie Tan White, who finished with 17 points.

Others in double-figures for the Mystics were Alana Beard with 18 points, DeLisha Milton-Jones with 17, Chasity Melvin with 14, and Smith-Taylor with 11 – eight of which came in the final session. Washington starters accounted for 81 of the Mystics' season-high 88 points.

For Indiana, Catchings collected her second double-double in four nights, with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Kelly Miller chipped in 11 points and Deanna Jackson joined White off the bench for 10. Natalie Williams finished with a season-best 12 rebounds, but fouled out during the second overtime with just three points on 1-of-7 shooting.

After the Fever rallied to take a 31-30 lead at the intermission, the Mystics led 58-51 with 3:50 remaining in the game to match its largest lead of regulation.

A Tully Bevilaqua 3-pointer and a driving bucket by Tan White surrounded a free throw by Chasity Melvin to bring Indiana with in 59-56 with 2:37 left in regulation. White’s 3-pointer with 1:40 remaining knotted the game at 59, and a layup by Melvin kept the Mystics ahead. A pair of foul shots by Smith-Taylor gave Washington a four-point advantage with less than a minute to play. Kelly Miller’s fallaway jumper with 47 seconds left kept the Fever within 63-61, but Melvin made the first of two free throws for a three-point lead - setting up a deep 3-pointer by Catchings with 24 seconds left. Washington, with a final possession, nearly turned the ball over as the buzzer sounded during a loose ball scamble under the Mystics basket.

The Fever used three treys in the final minutes of regulation to force overtime, but it was the Mystics whose four overtime 3-pointers helped decide the outcome.

Indiana built a 71-68 lead in the opening overtime, but Milton-Jones’ 3-pointer knotted the score with 1:25 to play. Johnson hit a pair of foul shots to put the Mystics up by two, and Jackson’s floating jumper with 25 ticks left tied it to setup another final Mystics possession. This time, with just 3.7 seconds to go, Catchings' foul sent Smith-Taylor to the line for the potential game-winning points, but she missed both.

In all, Washington missed 13-of-35 free throws on the night, but its 22 free throws made more than offset the Fever's 14-of-17 shooting from the charity stripe. Indiana outrebounded the Mystics 43-28, but shot just 38.4 percent from the floor and couldn't overcome the free throw disparity.

After failing to seal the win for Washington at the end of the first OT, Smith-Taylor finally got her points with the quick pair of threes as Indiana found itself playing from behind again. The Mystics hit six free throws in the final minute of the second OT to offset a final 3-pointer from Miller – the Fever’s only field goal of the final session.

While Washington had been idle for seven days before hosting the Fever, the Fever played its fourth straight game down to the wire in eight nights. Now, though, Indiana is off for six days before returning to Conseco Fieldhouse where the it remains unbeaten in five contests. In fact, the Fever opens a five-game homestand June 24 vs. Minnesota, and plays only three games in three weeks before the WNBA All-Star break.


FEVER NOTEBOOK
  • The Fever opens a five-game homestand when Indiana returns to Conseco Fieldhouse for Breast Health Awareness Night, presented by St.Vincent Health, on Friday, June 24 against the Minnesota Lynx.