INDIANAPOLIS — Tamika Catchings had 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Indiana Fever to a 78-73 win against the Washington Mystics on Thursday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Catchings endured a lengthy scoring drought from midway through the first quarter to midway through the third.
However, when the Fever needed her most late in the game, Catchings came through.
She scored 18 points in the second half and had several clutch baskets down the stretch.
Ivory Latta scored 22 points for Washington, and Emma Meesseman had 17.
Catchings became the WNBA’s career leader in postseason rebounds, and her 21st playoff double-double is also another record.
“You have to bring more than just scoring. For me starting off the game slow, even though I wasn’t hitting my shots, they were good shots,” Catchings said.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series is Saturday at Washington.
Catchings had plenty of help, as the starting backcourt duo of Briann January and Shavonte Zellous combined for 25 points. Zellous had three rebounds and two assists, and January dished outtwo assists.
Fever center Erlana Larkins had a game-high 11 rebounds to go with her eight points.
The Fever won despite shooting just 38.8 percent (26 of 67) from the field, including 3 of 12 (25 percent) from 3-point range. Washington was 27 of 63 (42.9 percent) from the field, including 6 of 18 (33.3 percent) from three-point range.
But Indiana had a 23-13 scoring advantage from the foul line. The Fever were 23 of 29 (79.3 percent) from the free-throw line, while the Mystics were 13 of 15 (86.7 percent).