The Washington Mystics ended their four-game losing streak after a dominating 22-point, 13-rebound effort from forward Crystal Langhorne. But it was perhaps the emotion of the game sparked by their newest player that was the difference in a gut-wrenching 67-66 win over the Indiana Fever at Verizon Center.
Guard Shannon Bobbitt has been in Washington for 48 hours after being signed as a free agent on Wednesday, but it was her dribble-drive layup with 46.2 seconds left that ended up being the game-winner. Her energy was also in full display Friday night, as she often seen pumping up the crowd.
“There’s nothing like having a warm welcome,” said Bobbitt, who finished with eight points and five assists. “I fed off of that when they were giving me standing ovations and cheering for me. They believed in me and there’s nothing else like someone having confidence in you.”
This one was special for Bobbitt. Just before the start of the regular season last month, she was released by Indiana.
The Mystics (2-5) used this emotion to build a lead that reached eleven points late in the third quarter. They would need every bit of it, as the Fever outscored them 17-8 in the final period.
Coach Trudi Lacey thought this win was coming, but the team was still trying to get though some chemistry issues, with new players like Bobbitt coming in so recently.
“It was a total team effort,” said Lacey. “Everybody played their role. I asked them to step up and do their job and be responsible for their job first and it would come together.”
After a dismal first quarter in which the team scored 14 points on 31 percent shooting, Washington came out with fire in the second. They shot 60 percent, outscoring the Fever 23-16, en route to a 37-31 halftime lead.
Langhorne made five or her first seven jumpers and missed only one of her five free throws by that point. The former University of Maryland star had 14 points and four rebounds.
“Other people were getting shots in the second half, that’s all it was,” said Langhorne. “I would pretty much take it to that. When I put the ball on the floor, they crowded me.”
The Fever didn’t help themselves, missing four of their first eight free throws and making only one of their seven 3-point attempts at the half. They would finish the game 3-for-16 from long distance and 17-for-26 from the free-throw line.
Washington will now begin a three-game road trip, starting in Los Angeles on Monday night. The Mystics have not won consecutive games since 2010, when they finished the regular season with a six-game win streak.
As long as Bobbitt is around, the team will feed off her energy and emotion.