Well-rounded Washington Mystics cruise to 107-68 win over Indiana Fever for sixth straight victory
The Mystics made a WNBA-record 18 threes in victory over the Fever
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sunday afternoon the Washington Mystics defeated the Indiana Fever 107-68 at Entertainment and Sports Arena, setting league highs and breaking records.
“The world looks really good when you’re making shots.” Washington head coach Mike Thibault said about his team’s performance.
The Mystics started the contest on a 20-2 run before Fever guard Kennedy Burke scored with 2:56 remaining in the first quarter. Washington’s defense sparked the run. Ten defensive rebounds, three steals and defense on Indiana’s guards along the perimeter made for a smothering combination.
The Fever regrouped and responded with a 13-0 run that continued into the second quarter. Thibault threw in diverse lineups to attack Fever centers Natalie Achonwa and Teaira McCowan. Washington forward Elena Delle Donne contributed on both sides of the floor, leading all scorers 14 points and an additional seven rebounds, three assists and a steal in the first half. Washington led Indiana 43-34 at halftime.
“I think you’re just talking about one of the most skilled players, that’s seven years into her career,” Indiana head coach Pokey Chatman said of Delle Donne. “When you figure out the nuances of the game. I think that’s where she is.”
The Mystics were hot out of halftime to outscore the Fever 36-19 in the third quarter. A huge scoring effort led to the 107-68 win, six straight for Washington.
In the game, Washington players utilized their assets to the best of their abilities. Guard Ariel Atkins’ skills makes her another brazen defender for Washington. She’s been confident among the perimeter while a starter in her second year.
“All her hustle plays, three-point shooting, coming up with steals just energizes your team,” Thibault said of Atkins. “She’s been very poised for a young player.”
Atkins finished with 14 points and four assists.
“I feel like that’s the game changer, defense wins championships,” Atkins said. “We’ve got people on this team who can get buckets so finding stops is really key for us.”
Fellow guard Aerial Powers, who started in Kristi Toliver’s place for the third consecutive game, increased her fire power beyond the arc this season. She made four of six attempted threes against Indiana. Powers finished with 19 points and three assists, benefitting from teams playing off her to defend high-scoring bigs.
“It’s a key difference,” Powers said. “Not only can they shoot they’re confident and passers and they all see the floor well. It’s really hard to guard.”
Forward Emma Meesseman came off the bench for 11 points and three assists for the third time. Guard Natasha Cloud surpassed Alana Beard for most assists in Washington’s program against Minnesota August 16. She added eight more against Indiana.
“I am extremely blessed and humbled. I’m a mid-major kid who had one coach and one organization believe in her, and I’m still here with that organization five years later.” Cloud said. “I truly feel blessed. It’s not only a testament to me staying true to myself and knowing my role on this team, but also to my teammates – one through 12 have helped me tremendously throughout the years.”
Washington’s all-around game continues to evolve. The Mystics held the Fever to ten first quarter points, tying a season record of opponent’s lowest in the opening quarter. Thirty-six points in the third quarter is a season record for most points scored in one quarter. Washington hasn’t lost at home since June 14 against the Seattle Storm.
Aside from Delle Donne leading all scorers with 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists, three other Mystic players scored in double figures. Every active Mystic scored for the third time this season. They were perfect at the charity stripe on all 15 attempts.
Washington also recorded a WNBA record of 18 made threes in one game. They did it on an efficient 46 percent for the best shooting performance this season. Guard Shey Peddy hit the final three to mark the league record with 1:21 left in the game.
“We’re just a threat,” Peddy said. “We can score inside and out. We’re really dangerous. Nobody’s lacking on any player or any position.”
Indiana guard Tiffany Mitchell scored a team-high 17 points and five assists. McCowan recorded 14 points and 10 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season. Candice Dupree left the game early with a left-hand injury.
Washington travels to the Chicago Sky August 23. Indiana hosts the New York Liberty Tuesday night.
- Points in the Paint: Fever 28, Mystics 22
- Second Chance Points: Fever 4, Mystics 4
- Fastbreak Points: Fever 0, Mystics 6
- Biggest Lead: Fever 0, Mystics 39
- Lead Changes: 0
- Times Tied: 1
- Attendance: 4,034