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Mystics at Fever final score: Cold shooting, especially in the third quarter leads to 89-77 loss

Tina Charles scored 31 points but there wasn’t much to write home about otherwise.

Washington Mystics v Indiana Fever
Tina Charles scored 31 points in the Washington Mystics’ 87-77 loss to the Indiana Fever.
Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

The Washington Mystics lost 89-77 to the Indiana Fever on Sunday afternoon. The loss sends Washington to 1-3 while the Fever have won their first game of the season (1-4).

No one likes to call early-season contests “must-win” games, but this was one of them. The Fever have been one of the WNBA’s doormats in recent years due to a major rebuild project. And with Washington still missing Elena Delle Done (back) and just getting Myisha Hines-Allen back (she was scoreless off the bench), the order was going to be taller for them to do it. But I didn’t expect the Fever to blow them out either.

I mean, Tina Charles (she scored 31 points!) was the best player on the floor, right?

The warning signs came out very early as the Fever raced to a 16-8 lead. While Washington was able to keep the margins close at the end of the first and second quarters, don’t let the box score fool you. They never had a sustained lead in this game and Indiana led by double digits throughout.

Things unraveled in the second half when Washington’s problematic cold-shooting came out in full force — again — as they shot just 29.4 percent from the field and committed seven turnovers while the Fever shot 9-of-16 from the field. The Fever held a 69-52 lead after the third quarter and never looked back from there. To be honest, the Fever should have led by even more if they scored more off of Washington’s turnovers.

In addition to Charles, Ariel Atkins added 16 points. Washington didn’t get much help from the bench, which collectively scored 12 points.

As for the Fever, Kelsey Mitchell led with 18 points and four of their five starters scored in double figures.

Washington still has one more game against the Fever for Tuesday. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET. And yes, it’s a must-win game.