Following a defiant seventh-round knockout of previously unbeaten Jose Pedraza (22-1, 12...
Fever Break Mystics Home Unbeaten Streak
WASHINGTON, D.C.—After five days of rain, numerous power outages and rising flood waters, the best way to get to Verizon Center on Tuesday night to see the Washington Mystics play the Indiana Fever might have been by boat. But it was worth braving the inclimate weather to see two of the WNBA’s brightest stars, the Mystics Alana Beard, and the Fever’s Tamika Catchings. Watching the two guard one another was a treat for any true hoop fan to witness.
Previously undefeated on their home court, the Mystics got off to a rough start, scoring only 8 points in the first quarter to the Fever’s 22. A reversal of fortune in the second quarter had the score at 28-25 at the half, with the Fever up by 3. The Mystics rallied in the third quarter to keep the game close, but let the game get away from them in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, as they lost by a score of 74-67. In one of their toughest outings of the season, the Mystics turned the ball over 21 times, leading to 22 points for the Fever. The Mystics shot 50.9% from the floor to the Fever’s 41.7%, but were out-rebounded on both ends of the floor.
Despite the loss, the game’s high scorer was Washington’s Alana Beard with 24 points.
“I think AB (Alana Beard) is a great player. I’ve had the benefit of playing her not only here but over in Korea as well. Every year she gets better and better and for me it’s a challenge to be able to play defense against her. I can not only improve on my offensive game, but be able to improve on my defensive game. When you are able to play such a great player, you get better”, said Tamika Catchings of Beard.
Little improvement is needed in the game of Tamika Catchings. Arguably the best player in the WNBA, Catchings is the reigning WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. Now in her fifth year with the Indiana Fever, Catchings has lead her team in points, rebounds, assists and steals in each of her first four seasons. She has finished in the top three in the MVP voting her first four seasons. She is the Fever’s first player to score 2,000 points, while no other player on her team has even made it to the 1,000 point mark, and she has scored in every game of her professional career (134). The three-time All-Star is the daughter of former NBA player Harvey Catchings.
Beard was equally eloquent in her praise of Catchings.
“She is sort of like my mentor. I really look up to her. When I watch tape on her I say, that’s what I want to do. She’s relentless in everything she does. That’s what I want to be known for. When I’m out there playing defense on her, I’m learning. Even when I’m playing games, I’m learning from my peers”, said Beard.
With a home record of 7-1, this is clearly one of the best Mystics teams in years. Six-year veteran Coco Miller is pleased with the make-up of this year’s version of her squad.
“It’s definitely the best team I’ve been on since I’ve been a Mystic. It’s fun to play with such great players who have such a great passion for the game. Finally this year I think we have a championship caliber team”, said Miller.
The loss leaves the Mystics in fourth place in the WNBA’s Eastern Conference with a record of 8-6, with the Indiana Fever just ahead of them in third place with a record of 11-5. The Mystics have a four game road trip before returning home to Verizon Center for two games before the All-Star Break on Wednesday July 12th in New York.
It won’t be much of a break for Catchings and Beard, though. They’ll be playing.