Fever Beat Mystics, Keep First-Place Ranking
|STAR OF THE GAME
January got the start for the Fever and made the most of it, as she led the team with 19 points. January also distributed the ball well with eight assists and made four clutch free-throws late in the fourth quarter to seal the win for Indiana.
Despite playing under 13 minutes, Bevilaqua had an impact on the game for the Fever. When Washington cut the lead to two at 70-68, Bevilaqua took a pass from January and sank a big 3-pointer to extend the Fever lead to five with under a minute to play.
"It was a hard-fought game. I was happy with our balanced scoring. I thought we did a great job disrupting their pick & roll early in the game. We forced a lot of turnovers and we played really well defensively."
"When they really made their runs late in the game, we able to silence them both times with a pair of Tully Bevilaqua threes. She doesn't score a lot of points, but they were really loud points tonight."
On The Win:
"This was a huge win. It was good to get over that hump playing against Washington. They're really good and to be able to come in here and walk out with a win is really big. Tully hit a huge shot at the end of the game, and Bri [Briann January] really played great."
Points in the paint:
Fever 28, Mystics 32
Fever 6, Mystics 20
Fever 9, Mystics 2
Points off turnovers:
Fever 23, Mystics 13
Fever 59, Mystics 62
Fever 19, Mystics 11
WASHINGTON (AP) - Briann January scored 19 points, including four free throws in the final 2.9 seconds, to help the Indiana Fever hold on to first place in the Eastern Conference with a 78-73 win over the Washington Mystics on Saturday night.
Ebony Hoffman and Katie Douglas added 13 points each, and Tamika Catchings had 12 points before fouling out as the Fever (15-7) held off a late rally to win their fourth straight and sixth in the last seven.
Indiana moved 1.5 games ahead of Washington and Atlanta in the tight Eastern Conference where only four games separated the six teams at the start of the day.
Katie Smith scored 17 points to lead the Mystics (13-8). Crystal Langhorne had 15 points and 13 rebounds, Monique Currie added 14 points and Lindsey Harding 10.
With first place in the Eastern Conference standings on the line, the Indiana Fever won its fourth game in-a-row and its sixth in the past seven games. Washington, which entered the night within a half game of the first-place Fever, lost for the first time in three games to Indiana, and for just the third time in its last eight games.
Briann January made her first start since May 23 and responded with career highs of 19 points, 14 free throws (14-of-15) and eight assists.
The Mystics had the ball and a chance to tie with under a minute to play, but Katie Smith's 3-pointer was off the mark and Lindsay Hardingâ€™s putback with 4.9 seconds left could only pull the Mystics to one. Briann January hit four of her career-high 14 free throws in the game's final 2.9 seconds to preserve the win.
Indiana led 8-7 in the first quarter and Indiana never trailed again. Indiana's biggest lead, 12, came on a pair of free throws by January with 5:50 to play, but an 8-0 run brought the Mystics within two, 68-66, with 2:14 remaining.
Two free throws by January pushed the lead to 70-66. Two free throws by Monique Currie brought the Mystics within 70-68 with 1:10 to play, but Tully Bevilaquaâ€™s 3-pointer gave Indiana a five-point cushion. Katie Douglas' free throw posted Indiana to a six-point advantage but Currie hit a 3 with 37 seconds left to draw Washington within three.
Other double-figure Fever scorers included Ebony Hoffman and Katie Douglas who each had 13 points. Tamika Catchings added 12. Smith led the Mystics with 17 points. Crystal Langhorne had 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Ebony Hoffman has scored in double figures in all five games since the all-star break. Catchings in double figures for 21st time in 22 games.
Hoffman and Jessica Davenport combined for 14 of the Fever's first 16 points. The Fever forced eight turnovers in the opening period and Hoffman matched a career high with four steals in the first quarter, alone.
Washington had 28 free-throws and 36 attempts, which where highs by a Fever opponent this season.