Having put an end to their longest losing streak of the season, the inconsistent Indiana Fever are aiming to win consecutive contests for the first time in almost a month.
The Fever might have trouble getting another victory unless they can solve the WNBA’s best defensive club Wednesday night when they visit the Washington Mystics.
After dropping four straight for the first time since a seven-game skid that was part of a 1-7 start in 2013, Indiana got back on track in Tuesday’s 77-70 win at Eastern Conference-best Atlanta.
Former Mystics guard Karima Christmas matched a season high with 18 points and added a season-best nine rebounds for the Fever (7-9), who moved past idle Washington (7-10) into fourth place in the East.
Little-used guard Sydney Carter came up big as well, scoring all 11 of her points in the second half.
”With Carter, having another guard really helped us. She and Christmas are MVPs,” coach Lin Dunn said. ”Sydney had a real bad ankle sprain. We’re getting her back in the lineup (from now on)."
Now Indiana hopes to notch back-to-back wins for the first time since a four-game run from May 25-June 6.
The last of that winning streak was a 64-61 victory in the nation’s capital when Marissa Coleman helped overcome the loss of then-leading scorer Briann January with a season-high 20 points against her former club.
Erlana Larkins added 13 points and nine rebounds as Indiana rallied back from a 16-point first-half deficit.
The Fever won Tuesday despite leading scorer Shavonte Zellous shooting 3 of 14 and finishing with 11 points. She had averaged 23.0 points in her previous three games.
Indiana and Washington have split two meetings, with the Mystics notching a 79-63 win in Indianapolis on May 23 as they held the Fever to 34.8 percent shooting.
Indiana’s 40.6 field-goal percentage is the league’s worst, so it could again be in for a tough time against a Washington club that allows league lows of 73.9 points per game and 40.8 percent shooting.
Washington hopes to regroup after its two-game winning streak was snapped in a 73-65 home loss to San Antonio on Sunday. Monique Currie had a season-high 18 points and Ivory Latta added 14, but the Stars scored the game’s final seven points.
”We didn’t execute," Currie said. "I think moreso than being fatigued or worn out it was execution."
Latta, who leads Washington with 10.9 points per game, has totaled 23 points on 4-of-15 shooting – including 3 for 12 from 3-point range – against the Fever.
Rookie Bria Hartley, who missed all five of her field-goal attempts and went scoreless Sunday, has averaged 15.5 points and shot 50 percent against Indiana.