Mystics 79

(1-1, 1-0 away)

Fever 63

(0-3, 0-2 home)

    7:00 PM ET, May 23, 2014

    Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 26 14 23 1679
    IND 12 18 10 2363

    Top Performers

    Washington: E. Meesseman 8 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Blk

    Indiana: E. Larkins 7 Pts, 12 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Mystics-Fever Preview


    With Tamika Catchings missing the start of the season because of a back injury, rookie forward Natasha Howard has proved to be plenty capable of filling the spotlight for the Indiana Fever.

    The All-Star forward's status remains uncertain, so the Fever could again look to their top draft choice for guidance as they host the Washington Mystics on Friday night with both teams looking for their first victory.

    In their home opener on Saturday, the Fever (0-2) fell 90-88 in double overtime to Atlanta for their second one-possession loss in as many nights.

    Howard, the fifth pick in the draft, went 10 for 13 from the field for a team-high 21 points with six rebounds.

    "For my first home game, it was good, and we fought to the end," said Howard, who is averaging 18.5 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in her first two games. "We're like sisters on this team, and we're still getting to know each other and play with each other."

    Howard and center Erlana Larkins, who had 17 points and 13 rebounds, have been an effective offensive pair with Catchings sidelined.

    "Larkins is a good reader," Howard told the team's official website. "She knows where to find me, and I know where to pass the ball to her."

    They could also benefit from some improved free-throw shooting and guard play after a 10-for-19 night at the stripe and 22 turnovers, seven of which were from guard Shavonte Zellous.

    "We lost it at the free-throw line," coach Lin Dunn said. "We did not take the opportunity to win this game. We need to take better care of the basketball."

    Indiana is trying to avoid another substantial early hole after starting 1-7 last season before reaching the Eastern Conference finals. One of those early losses came to Washington, though the Fever recovered to win two of the next three meetings to split the season series.

    The Mystics also wasted a strong individual performance in their season debut. Point guard Ivory Latta scored a team-high 25 points and hit 7 of 9 from 3-point range in Friday's 89-77 home loss to defending WNBA champion Minnesota.

    Washington led early in the fourth before a 12-1 Lynx run, but coach Mike Thibault was at least happy with the play of his bench. Mystics reserves outscored the Lynx 33-6, led by 17 from Tierra Ruffin-Pratt.

    "We made our own mistakes, but the effort particularly that second group in the first half that got us back in the game and brought some order out of the chaos was good," Thibault said.

    Washington forward Jelena Milovanovic suffered a right knee strain in the second quarter of her first WNBA game. Her status Friday is unknown.

    Indiana guard Layshia Clarendon has missed the start of the season with a concussion.