STAR OF THE GAME
Tamika Catchings
Catchings led the Fever with 16 points, including six of the team's last nine points in the fourth quarter. Catchings also added seven assists, four rebounds, two steals and one block. Catchings hit a turn around jumper to break a 9-0 Mystics run late in the game and gave the Fever a chance in the end.
UNSUNG HERO
Tammy Sutton-Brown
Sutton-Brown was agressive all night on both offense and defense, accumulating 14 points and four rebounds. Sutton-Brown dove on the floor and made a key steal which resulted in the Catchings jumper that broke the 9-0 Mystics run late in the game. In over 30 minutes of work, Sutton-Brown was 5-of-6 from the field and had three steals and two blocked shots.
QUOTABLE
Lin Dunn
In General:
"This game was lost to Washington by our inability to control the boards. I am very disappointed in our lack of rebounding effort. They had a sense of urgency, which we did not have. Washington was relentless and out hustled us. We just can not give up those second chance points. Harding (Lindsey) went to another level. She was determined not to lose."

Katie Douglas
On Lack of Rebounding:
"Coach put a glaring statistic up on the board after the game. When you give up 44 rebounds and you let them have 25 second chance points, it makes for a very, very difficult night. We didn’t execute. We know how we want to play defense. Sometimes, we were just a hair off or a second late. They definitely found a way to get the ball. So we have to, like Coach says come together as a group and really talk about how we can emphasize and get better at rebounding."

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Fever 26, Mystics 40
Second-chance points:

Fever 18, Mystics 25
Fast-break points:

Fever 10, Mystics 9
Points off turnovers:

Fever 24, Mystics 11
Starters scoring:

Fever 58, Mystics 54
Bench scoring:

Fever 15, Mystics 23
Losing on the Glass

Team Record 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Indiana 16-8 26 17 17 13 73
vs Washington 14-10 17 18 21 21 77

By Tom Rietmann
INDIANAPOLIS -- A half-minute into the game, Washington's Chasity Melvin rebounded a teammate's missed shot and flipped it in to give the Mystics a quick lead. The play provided a window to what the Indiana Fever would deal with the rest of the night.

Washington dominated the rebounding totals Friday night and captured a stunning 77-73 victory over the Fever at Conseco Fieldhouse. Washington outrebounded Indiana 44-21, and the difference of 23 boards was the biggest advantage for a Fever opponent in franchise history. The Mystics collected 25 second-chance points and 40 points in the paint.

The lopsided rebounding totals almost overshadowed a 33-point performance by Washington's Lindsey Harding, who scored her team's final 13 points.

“To say I'm disappointed is an understatement,” said Fever coach Lin Dunn, who has seen her team get outrebounded by 10 or more in each of four games against Washington this season. “I really thought we would play, board-wise, with a greater sense of urgency.

“(The Mystics) played with a desperation, with a sense of urgency, that we didn't have.”

First-place Indiana, with a chance to put some space between itself and its pursuers in the Eastern Conference, instead saw a heated race get even tighter. The Fever, which snapped a five-game winning streak, is 16-8 (.667). Second-place Atlanta, against whom Indiana will play on Sunday afternoon, is 17-9 (.654).

Washington, 14-10, refuses to be eliminated and won the season series against Indiana 3-1. That means any kind of tie with the Fever will go the Mystics' way, since head-to-head record is the first tiebreaker.

“They are just relentless,” Dunn said about the Mystics, who were led in rebounding by Crystal Langhorne with 11. “It's almost like they were born with that rebounding mentality.”

The Fever was led by four players with four rebounds. It wasn't nearly enough, even on a night when Indiana's trapping defense forced Washington into 25 turnovers. Dunn suggested that Indiana's problems on the boards stem from missed block outs as well as a failure to “value” the basketball.

Tamika Catchings, who tied Katie Douglas for Fever scoring honors with 16 points, knows something has to change if the Fever want to repeat as conference champion.

“Lin's suggestion was that we get together as a team and figure out what we want to do as far as not getting outrebounded,” Catchings said in a somber Fever locker room. “I just really think it's a matter of heart. I don't know what we're going to do, how we're going to solve this. But it has to be solved.”

Said Fever center Tammy Sutton-Brown, who scored 14 for her first double-figure game in the last 12: “This was one we gave away tonight.”

Washington's Harding did her part to take it away. The speedy guard scored 25 of her 33 in the second half, hitting 9-of-13 shots in the final 20 minutes.

In a game of runs, Indiana used an 11-5 spurt to take a seven-point lead (71-64) with 5:08 left in the game. That's when Harding assumed control, outscoring Indiana 13-2 by herself the rest of the way.

“Lindsey Harding took it to another level,” Dunn said. “It's almost like she decided to take over the game, put her head down and say, 'I'm going to the rim. Does anybody want to stop me?' ''

Nobody could stop her.

“I'm competitive and I just feel I can match up with anybody when I'm at full speed,” said Harding, whose totals included 9-of-9 from the free throw line. “I just wanted to attack and attack.”

Once again, Indiana showed a tendency to let leads slip away. After nearly blowing a 21-point lead in a win over Chicago earlier in the week, the Fever frittered away an 11-point edge Friday night.

“I think we play with a greater sense of urgency when we're down, when we're clawing our way back,” Dunn said. “We're certainly not handling being in the lead very well.”

She hopes that trend will end in Sunday's important game at Atlanta.

“It's whoever brings that sense of urgency every night,” Dunn said.


Game Notes
  • With a record of 3-1 against the Fever this season, Washington wins the season series with Indiana for the first time since 2000, when the Mystics won two of three meetings.
  • Lindsay Harding's career-high 33 points included 25 in the second half and the Mystics' last 13 points of the game. She made 4-4 FT in the final 30 seconds and single-handedly outscored the Fever, 13-2 in the final 4:28 of the game.
  • Washington committed 25 turnovers that led to 24 points off turnovers for the Fever. That is the most turnovers by a Fever opponent since the Mystics had 26 miscues at Conseco Fieldhouse, 5/15.
  • With just nine points tonight, the Mystics' leading scorer on the season, Crystal Langhorne, snapped a 12-game streak of scoring in double figures and she has scored in single digits just three times in 2010.
  • Shooting 16-31 from the floor (.516) in the first half, Indiana shot just 10-38 FG (.263) in the final 20 minutes.
  • The Fever was outrebounded 44-21 by the Mystics and Indiana's total is its lowest of the seson. The Fever's 10 defensive rebounds are its second fewest ever in a single-game. The Fever had a club-record-low nine defensive rebounds vs. Washington in May (5/15).
  • Washington's 44 rebounds are the most given up by the Fever this season, and are one short of the Mystics' season-high
  • With 13 steals and 11 turnovers, the Fever had more steals than turnovers for the second time this season, and the first time since having 16 steals and 12 turnovers vs. Atlanta, 6/19.
  • With her 14 points, Tammy Sutton-Brown scored in double figures for the first time since having a season-high 16 points vs. Atlanta, 6/19.
  • Washington outscored Indiana, 40-26, in the paint and the Fever has given up 40+ points in the paint three times this season.
  • Having tied for the team lead in scoring and rebounds with 16 points and four boards, while leading the team in assists with seven, Tamika Catchings led the team in all three for the sixth time in 2010. She has led the Fever in all three departments in each of the last two games.