Indiana 64, Washington 53
INDIANAPOLIS, May 17 (AP) -- Katie Douglas' homecoming for the Indiana Fever was just about perfect.
Douglas, who attended nearby Perry Meridian High School in Indianapolis and played college basketball at Purdue, scored 24 points in her Indiana debut as the Fever held off Washington for a 64-53 victory in their season opener on Saturday night.
Indiana acquired Douglas, a two-time WNBA All-Star, from Connecticut during an offseason trade in February.
"When the final clock was winding down, I was just happy we were able to protect our home court and give the fans a good showing,'' said Douglas, who had around 40 family and friends in attendance. "We need to build on this momentum.''
Douglas' point total set a franchise record for a player making her debut with Indiana. Tamika Catchings scored 23 in her first game on June 1, 2002.
"The only record I'm going for is how many championship rings we can win here,'' Douglas said. "The individual accomplishments are nice and all, but I'm here to be a veteran, to be a leader of this team.''
Douglas' 17 first-half points helped the Fever take a 35-32 lead into the break.
"She's one of those players you hate to play against, but you love her on your team,'' Indiana guard Tully Bevilaqua said. "Katie brings so much to us, both offensively and defensively.''
"I think she's the right person to lead this franchise,'' Douglas said.
"They came after our point guards pretty hard and we didn't have that off-guard to relieve the pressure,'' Mystics coach Tree Rollins said. "It was a good play on their part.''
The Mystics, who trailed by seven in the first half, took their first lead at 44-43 following Krystal Vaughn's free throw to end the third quarter.
With the help of their bench players, the Fever regained control with a 9-0 run to begin the fourth quarter. Allison Feaster's layup gave Indiana a 52-44 lead with 7:46 left.
"Our bench came in and turned that game around,'' Dunn said.
Washington cut the deficit to five points, but Indiana opened a 62-53 lead on Bevilaqua's jumper with 2 minutes remaining.
"You don't want to lose your first game at home,'' Bevilaqua said.
Catchings missed the game and is still recovering from a torn left Achilles tendon, an injury she suffered in last year's Eastern Conference finals. No timetable has been set for her return.