The Indiana Fever were able to capitalize on the shooting woes of the Washington Mystics, win going away 73-50. Shenise Johnson led the way with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Shenise Johnson’s 16 point, 11 rebound double-double led the Fever to an emphatic 73-50 win over the Washington Mystics, who made only two field goals during the entire second half.
The Mystics started the game on pace with Indiana, getting help in the first from an 8-point quarter from Stefanie Dolson. However, though the Mystics managed to stay close to the Fever for the entire first half, the writing was on the wall during the second quarter. Washington only managed to make four out the 16 field goals they attempted in the second, converting more free throws than shots from the floor during the quarter.
The half ended with a missed buzzer beater layup attempt by Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, and the Fever took a 38-34 lead into the half. That lead would only grow throughout the rest of the game.
It took the Mystics over five minutes to get their opening basket of the second quarter. The team shot 4-27 for the half as a whole.
Indiana took full advantage of a night where Washington just couldn’t seem to keep possession of the basketball. The Mystics allowed 21 points off of their 18 turnovers. Even though the Mystics outrebounded the Fever, those numbers are slightly skewed because of the offensive rebounds Washington pulled down as a result of so many misses. Emma Meesseman managed to get five offensive boards herself, but only scored 9 points.
The Fever outscored the Mystics 35-16 in the second half.
Both Ruffin-Pratt and Stefanie Dolson scored 12, but they were Washington’s only double-digit scorers; the team as a whole shot 29% for the game.
Indiana also only had two double-digit scorers in Shenise Johnson and Tamika Catchings with 16 and 15 points respectively, but got a scoreboard contribution from every player who logged minutes, even with a short-handed bench.
Mystics coach Mike Thibault felt that Indiana’s roster created problems for Washington because of the matchups, saying that “They were short-handed with guards, so they just decided to get physical and pound us defensively, and they did a good job of it.”
That physical defense disrupted the Mystics’ offensive flow. Fever players said after the game that the effort on the defensive side of the ball was the deciding factor in the game.
“I think the tendency we have this year, even for myself, is trying to go for steals. One thing that [Fever Head Coach] Steph [White] keeps harping on is we don’t necessarily have to get the steal; Keep getting a hand on the ball or get it tipped, and one of your teammates can get it,” said Catchings of their ability to get into the passing lanes. She and Shenise Johnson accounted for 6 of the team’s 11 steals.
The Mystics do not play next until July 9th against the Liberty, and have plenty of time to figure out their offensive struggles. The Fever host the Storm on July 8th, when they will try to win three consecutive games for the first time this season.