Mystics end three-game losing streak with win vs. Fever

INDIANAPOLIS -- Lindsey Harding isn't showing any signs of her lingering hip injury.

The Washington guard scored a career-high 33 points, including the team's final 13 of the game, to lead the Mystics to a 77-73 victory over the Indiana Fever on Friday night, snapping their three-game losing streak.

Harding, slowed recently by the hip injury suffered earlier this month, averaged 7.6 points in the past six games entering Friday.

"I feel really good and back to normal," said Harding, who shot 11-of-18 from the field and made all nine of her free-throw attempts. "We needed a win, and we needed it to start tonight."

Washington coach Julie Plank was glad to see her floor leader back in control.

"She has a will to win," Plank said. "I hope she can walk tomorrow."

Nakia Sanford had 11 points and Crystal Langhorne added nine points and 11 rebounds for the Mystics (14-10), who took the season series from Indiana 3-1.

The Fever (16-8) remain in first place in the Eastern Conference by percentage points over Atlanta (17-9). Washington is two games behind in third place.

"It was very important," Harding said of the victory. "Last year, we had the tie over Chicago to get it [a playoff berth]. It's going to be huge, it's going to be tight."

Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas both scored 16 for the Fever, and Tammy Sutton-Brown had 14 points to reach double figures for the first time since June 19. Indiana had its season-high five-game winning streak snapped.

"I'm all about wins," Sutton-Brown said. "We gave that game away. They came in with a sense of urgency."

Washington, which trailed by 11 points in the third quarter, got within 60-59 on Sanford's three-point play to begin the final period. The Fever answered with a 9-2 run to regain control.

Minutes later, Harding scored nine straight points to put the Mystics ahead 73-71 with 2:31 left. Harding had two layups, a 3-pointer and another layup during the spurt.

"Harding went to another level," Fever coach Lin Dunn said. "She was determined not to lose."

Catchings' jumper tied the score at 73 with 1:07 left, but Harding hit two free throws to make it 75-73 with 29 seconds left. After Ebony Hoffman's missed jumper, Harding made two more free throws to seal the victory.

"Indiana is a great defensive team and when they're set, they're awesome," Harding said. "My goal was to try to beat them up the floor and see what I can do scoring in the paint. I was just attacking, had the attack mentality."

Washington outrebounded Indiana 44-21, leading to 25 second-chance points for the Mystics.

"They're a great rebounding team and that was the stat difference right there," Sutton-Brown said.

Catchings and Douglas both scored 10 points in the first half as Indiana led 43-35. The Fever took their biggest lead of the half, 30-19, on Jessica Moore's jumper early in the second quarter.

The Mystics shot nearly 54 percent from the field in the third quarter, compared to Indiana's 26 percent, to get within 60-56. Washington tied the score at 48 on Marissa Coleman's 3-pointer midway through the period.