Caitlin Clark gets hot from deep, her 30 points keep Washington Mystics winless

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- To keep the Washington Mystics winless on the season, the Indiana Fever closed out a gritty, 85-83, win in front of a crowd of 20,333 at Capital One Arena on Friday night.

Indiana's win pushes them to 3-9 on the season, while the Mystics are 0-11 — now the third-longest losing streak to start a season in WNBA history, passing the 2018 Fever.

Caitlin Clark tied a career high with 30 points, on the strength of seven made 3s, and hit some key late free throws to preserve the road win.

Insider: 20,000 fans packed DC arena to root on Caitlin Clark, Indiana? Sure sounded like it.

Here are three observations:

Fever hang on, keep Mystics winless

The Fever were up, 82-79, when NaLyssa Smith was called for a clear path foul with just over a minute left in the game. That foul could have been a five-point swing — Washington got two free throw attempts and possession. It could've been something that gave Indiana its 10th loss of the season, and Washington its first win of the year.

Luckily for the Fever, it didn't. First, Mystics forward Aaliyah Edwards went just 1-of-2 at the line. Then, Ariel Atkins missed a jump shot. The Fever lead was still intact — if barely.

While Indiana couldn't make a shot to get more than a two-point margin as the clock ticked down, Washington couldn't, either. Smith ended up being instrumental in those final seconds, too — she boxed out to grab three straight rebounds on Mystics shots, not allowing Washington any second chance.

By the time the clock ticked down to 11 seconds, the Mystics started to foul. Caitlin Clark sunk two free throws, and the Fever got the cushion they needed for their third victory of the season.

Bad second quarter forces Fever to play close game

The Fever finished the first quarter on a 10-0 run, putting them up nine points against the winless Mystics. That lead stretched to 12 by beginning of the first quarter, and it looked like, for the first time, Indiana could have an easy victory.

Then, they didn't score a basket for most of the second quarter.

The Fever's last field goal in the first half came at the 7:17 mark of the second quarter, when Erica Wheeler made a layup to put Indiana up 11. Indiana only scored four points in the final seven minutes of the second quarter, which came in the form of two free throws each from Aliyah Boston and Caitlin Clark.

Washington scored 13 points in the meantime, and by half, the Fever were up just two points.

The Fever's breakdown in the second quarter forced them to play close for the rest of the game — they couldn't get a cushion in the third quarter, and the two teams essentially traded baskets for the entire 10-minute period.

Caitlin Clark drains three 3-pointers in four minutes

In a tie game in the third quarter, Clark did what she does best: drill a couple 3-pointers.

Her barrage started when Indiana and Washington were tied at 57, and Clark stepped back behind the 3-point line for a shot. Swish.

Another one came two minutes later, and another just 30 seconds after that — which elicited a celebration from the Fever rookie and a raucous cheer from the opposing crowd. By the end of the third quarter, Clark had a new single-game career-high of five 3-pointers.

Less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, she added to that total. Then, she did it again.

Clark finished the game with seven 3-pointers — five of them coming in the second half.

How many points did Caitlin Clark score against the Washington Mystics?

The Fever rookie matched her career high with 30 points, as well as eight rebounds and six assists.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Caitlin Clark 3-point shooting leads Indiana Fever to win over Mystics