WNBA: Fever heating up as surging Mystics come to town


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Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever are starting to win some games.

Sunday’s 91-83 victory over Chicago marked their fourth in six games since a 1-8 start that saw the team flailing and failing repeatedly against top veteran sides such as Connecticut and New York.

Indiana tries to keep its roll going in Indianapolis on Wednesday night against another opponent that might be figuring things out, the Washington Mystics.

“They’re learning each other and that’s what this is,” said Fever coach Christie Sides of her team’s recent success. “This is what’s happening right now — they’re learning each other. They’re learning how to play off each other, they’re recognizing reads off each other.”

Clark threatened a triple-double on Sunday, finishing with 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds while hitting 7 of 11 shots. Aliyah Boston (19 points, 14 rebounds), Kelsey Mitchell (17 points) and NaLyssa Smith (15 points) also tallied in double figures.

The caveat to Indiana’s first good stretch of basketball this year: Only Atlanta among the teams it’s beaten recently is even playing .500. But the Fever (5-10) will get more chances to prove themselves against stiffer opposition during an upcoming five-game road trip that includes stops in Atlanta, Seattle and Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Washington (2-12) has won consecutive games after dropping its first 12. That includes an 83-81 decision Friday night against Chicago behind a game-high 29 points from Ariel Atkins.

With key players such as Brittney Sykes (foot) and Shakira Austin (hip) landing on the shelf, Atkins has become the team’s go-to scorer, averaging a team-high 14.6 points per game. Rookie Aaliyah Edwards (9.1 ppg) and Karlie Samuelson (8.8) are taking up the slack as well.

The emergence of Samuelson as a quality player in the league has surprised some, even Mystics coach Eric Thibault.

“I didn’t fully see it,” he said. “But those are kind of the stories you like the best. It’s a massive credit to her.”

Indiana won the teams’ first meeting this year 85-83 on June 7 in Washington.

–Field Level Media


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