INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indiana Fever moved Tamika Catchings
from forward to guard after she returned with a gold medal from the
Olympics, and the change is paying big dividends.
Natalie Williams scored 16 points and Catchings added 13 to lead
Indiana over the Washington Mystics 69-42 on Saturday night before
a season-high crowd of 9,165 at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Since the Olympic break, Indiana has won three games in four
days by a combined 52 points. Before the break, the Fever had
fallen to last place in the Eastern Conference with six straight
The victory, combined with Detroit's 66-58 win over Charlotte,
moved the Fever within a half-game of first-place New York.
"I wanted to go with the power lineup, so I moved Deanna
(Jackson) to forward where she is more comfortable. That puts Catch
at guard where she can initiate some offense," Indiana coach Brian
"I'm all for it," Catchings said of her new position. "I
learned about the move when I got back from Athens. It is working,
and as long as it keeps working, I'm happy."
Indiana (15-15) became the first team in the tightly bunched
Eastern Conference to reach 15 victories.
Alana Beard had nine points and Tamicha Jackson had seven for
the Mystics (12-16).
The Mystics' point total was the fewest allowed by Indiana in
franchise history. Washington shot just 25 percent, and its three
front-line starters failed to make a field goal.
"We packed it in right from the start. Our defense got a lot of
people frustrated," Catchings said.
The last-place Mystics played without scoring-leader Chamique
Holdsclaw, who practiced with the team on Thursday. Holdsclaw was
placed on the injured list Tuesday with an undisclosed health
issue. She will miss at least one more game.
The Fever set a franchise record with 16 assists in the first
"They outplayed us. They got second rebounds," Mystics coach
Michael Adams said. "And they rotated the ball better."
Indiana scored the first seven points of the game, and the
Mystics never drew closer than six points.
The Fever led by 20 points four times in the first half, and
held a 40-23 halftime advantage after shooting 55 percent from the
The Mystics missed their first six shots of the second half,
while Indiana hit its first three, building a 51-23 lead. The Fever
led by as many as 32 points.
Reserve Niele Ivey sparked the Fever in the first half, scoring
a season-high eight points during a 15-7 run. She hit two
consecutive 3-pointers to put Indiana up 21-8, then hit a jump shot
and picked up an assist on a 3-pointer by reserve Ebony Hoffman,
giving the Fever a 26-10 lead.