- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 24, 2003

All season long, Washington Mystics coach Marianne Stanley has preached the importance of playing 40 minutes of basketball.

And once again, her team failed to do so.

The Mystics found themselves on the short end of lopsided runs in both halves of last night’s 80-75 loss to the Indiana Fever before 13,849 at MCI Center.

After overcoming Indiana’s 17-2 first half, Washington was put away by a 13-2 spurt over six minutes of the second half that gave the Fever a 61-49 lead with 7:57 to play.

The Mystics made a valiant surge late and closed to within 72-71 with 1:18 left, but they already had dug themselves too big a hole to overcome.

Indiana improved its road record to 3-8 and beat Washington for the fourth straight time.

Both teams had little time to prepare for last night’s game. After playing in Los Angeles on Tuesday, the Mystics spent much of Wednesday flying and only had a morning shoot-around yesterday to get ready for the Fever.

Indiana, meanwhile, was playing its second game in as many nights after blowing out San Antonio 81-47 at home Wednesday.

The Fever’s 34-point win was the largest margin of victory in franchise history and helped end a stretch of three losses in four games.

Surprisingly, though, Indiana leading scorer Tamika Catchings was held to 10 points in the blowout win. The Mystics didn’t have such luck containing her last night as Catchings scored 29 points to lead her team to victory over former college teammate Chamique Holdsclaw.

Holdsclaw certainly did all she could for the Mystics. The All-Star scored a career-high 34 points to give her five straight games of more than 20 points.

Stacey Dales-Schuman added 19 points, but the Mystics received little else from their supporting cast. The Fever was aided by Natalie Williams’ 16 points and Kelly Schumacher’s 10.

Washington scored the game’s first seven points and took a 10-2 lead after Dales-Schuman knocked down consecutive 3-pointers.

The Mystics extended their lead to 25-16 with 8:47 left and held onto that advantage until the Fever tied it at 31 with three minutes remaining in the half.

It came in the middle of a 17-2 Indiana run that was capped when Catchings drilled a 3-pointer to give the Fever a 38-31 lead at the 1:11 mark.

The Fever shot 66.7 percent from the field en route to their 40-35 halftime edge.

Washington had trailed 48-40, but got back within one after a 7-0 run that ended with a fadeaway jumper from Holdsclaw.

Indiana returns to Washington on Tuesday for the second of three games between the teams in a 19-day span.

Washington now heads out on the road for back-to-back games against Cleveland tomorrow and Detroit on Sunday.

Notes — Washington guard Kiesha Brown was presented with an Off-Season Community Assist award at halftime. … Indiana guard Nikki McCray, who played for Washington for four seasons, received a loud ovation in pregame introductions. … Washington’s Zuzana Zirkova saw action for the first time since playing three minutes on May 31.

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