Douglas scores 24 to lead Fever past Mystics

WASHINGTON(AP) Katie Douglas scored 11 of her 24 points in the fourth quarter to lead Indiana to an 87-79 victory over Washington on Sunday for the Fever's third victory in 12 days against the Mystics.

Tamika Catchings added 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Indiana (15-4), which improved to 23-11 all-time against Washington and stretched its lead in the Eastern Conference to five games over the second-place Mystics.

Ebony Hoffman had 15 points and Jessica Moore added 10 for the Fever, who have won 15 of 17 after an 0-2 start.

"I think we're right where we want to be at this point,'' Catchings said. "You never want to peak too early. Right now, I think we're playing about 20 minutes of really good basketball, so we still have 20 minutes to go and we're halfway through the season, so that's not a bad place to be.''

Douglas, who scored 32 and 34 points in the previous two games, shot 7 of 13 from the field and made all seven of her free throws en route to her eighth 20-point game of the season.

Alana Beard had 23 points and Lindsey Harding added 22 for the Mystics (10-9). Monique Currie added 12 points and seven rebounds.

"They're a great team, but I just think we are so good,'' Beard said. "The reason why we have lost to them is because of things that we can control - turnovers and, if you look at the stats, we beat them in every category. If we could have made a few more shots, we probably could have come out with a win.''

The Mystics outrebounded the Fever, 46-33, and outscored them in the paint, 40-32.

"They get to the free-throw line and they rebound,'' Fever coach Lin Dunn said of the Mystics. "They may be the best rebounding team in the league and they get second-chance points. ... When it was close, we really had to take our defense up a notch. When it was gut-check time, we made some stops.

"I wish we could rebound like they do. They're just like wild animals going to the boards.''

Currie had seven rebounds, and teammates Crystal Langhorne, Harding and Nakia Sanford added five apiece.

"We felt good going into the fourth quarter, but we quickly got down by 10,'' Currie said. "That's very discouraging and unacceptable for us to just let a team score at will on us at a crucial time in the game. Every game we've played against Indiana, we've had a chance to win. We'll learn from this and get back to working hard.''

The Mystics scored 21 more fastbreak points than the Fever (30-9) and had seven more second-chance points (15-8). Yet, they faltered in crunch time.

"We have to control a lot of things at the beginning to come out with a win in the end,'' Beard said. "The positive is we're hanging with a veteran team.''

Harding's driving layup with about 57 seconds left in the third quarter pushed Washington's lead to 53-50.

However, the Fever took the lead for good with a 19-2 run, starting with Tully Bevilaqua's tying 3-pointer 14 seconds later. Rookie Briann January's jumper capped the run and gave Indiana a 69-55 lead with 7:11 left in the fourth.

Douglas' layup with 2:51 to go gave the Fever their biggest lead, 78-62. The Mystics scored the next nine points and then pulled within six three times in the last 1:27, but got no closer against the Fever, who shot 49 percent.

"When you make 23 (of 25) free throws and shoot 49 percent from the field, you're supposed to win, that's all there is to it,'' Dunn said. "We had to get to the free-throw line, which we did, and we needed to shoot a good percentage, which we did.''

Nakia Sanford's layup capped a 7-0 run that gave Washington a 47-46 lead with 3:09 remaining in the third quarter.

Catchings' free throw with 1.4 seconds left gave the Fever a 54-53 lead after three quarters.

Douglas scored four straight points to give the Fever a 28-18 lead with 4:31 remaining in the second quarter.

The Mystics missed 17 of their first 21 shots and shot 27 percent from the field half. Beard's 3-pointer pulled Washington to 30-27 with 1:02 remaining in the second quarter.

However, Douglas had 10 points in the first half to help the Fever take a 32-29 lead at the break.

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