INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Washington Mystics have found their way back to a .500 record and gained a stronger hold on second place in the Eastern Conference.
Kia Vaughn scored 22 points and Ivory Latta added 14 for the Mystics to help them beat Indiana 74-61 on Friday night.
''(The Fever) play great defense. I just took what was given. I just went strong and aggressive, my teammates found me and I just made shots,''Vaughn said. ''We're just a great team. We pass well and shoot the ball well and we are getting used to each other more and more as the season goes on.''
Washington (15-15) moved 1 1-2 games in front of New York in the tight Eastern Conference race. Indiana (13-17) fell into a tie for fourth with Chicago for the final playoff spot in the east.
It was Indiana's 17th loss of this season, one that came in front of one of their largest home crowds this year. The Fever, honoring Breast Cancer awareness and breast cancer survivors in attendance at Friday's game, donned all pink uniforms.
Washington and Indiana went back and forth for much of the first half trading leads. The Mystics led by two points at the end of the first quarter, but that's as close as the gap would close for the Fever. The Mystics closed out the second quarter on a 13-2 run to take control and led by as many as 26 in the second half.
Shavonte Zellous scored 13 points and Tamika Catchings added 11 to lead the Fever, who lost four of their last five regular season meetings with Washington. Catchings expressed her frustrations after the game.
''It's just really disappointing; all around everybody is really disappointed. You think you're ready and you go out and, you know it's just frustrating. I feel like we're underachieving right now,'' she said. ''For the most part, I felt like we were trying. It wasn't like we just rolled over. I think really it was turnovers and missed assignments. We've been known for our defensive tenacity and during periods of times we had it but when our energy is down it shows more on defense. We just got to do better.''