After all, it was Indiana that released Bobbitt last month before the regular season began, a move that allowed the Mystics to sign her as a free agent on Wednesday.
“One team’s trash is another team’s treasure,” the 5-foot-2 Bobbitt said after scoring eight points, handing out five assists and drawing multiple standing ovations from the Verizon Center crowd about 48 hours after arriving in Washington.
This, though, was about more than redemption or revenge. Whether she was winning a jump ball over Douglas, a player 10 inches taller, or scrapping for every loose ball, Bobbitt’s feisty play seemed to push the entire Mystics roster to new heights.
From the opening tip, Washington (2-5) hardly resembled a team that entered Friday on a four-game losing streak and incapable of playing a complete game.
It began with a new starting lineup that included guards Jasmine Thomas and Matee Ajavon — team captain Monique Currie came off the bench for the first time this season. Leading scorer Crystal Langhorne, meanwhile, scored 10 of the team’s first 12 points en route to a dominating 22-point, 13-rebound performance in which she also held Catchings, the WNBA’s third-leading scorer, to just 15 points on 14 shots.
Center Michelle Snow also grabbed 12 rebounds for a second consecutive game, and at one point in the first half, dove into the courtside seats for a loose ball. She emerged with her arm covered in beer and set the tone for her squad.
But it all came back to Bobbitt. Even Coach Trudi Lacey seemed buoyed by the guard’s tenacity, often leaping from her seat on the sideline and showing the sort of raw emotion that had been hard to muster as the Mystics started this season with several agonizingly close losses.
“Just her intensity and presence makes that much of a difference,” said Ajavon, who added 15 points.
Despite all that, the Mystics found themselves in another tight game down the stretch, even though Indiana (4-3) shot just 37.1 percent from the field and made just 17 of its 26 free throws.
After trailing by 11 points in the second half, Indiana stormed back to within two points during a fourth quarter that saw the Mystics revert to their old ways of late-game turnovers. Unlike previous contests, though, “they punched and we punched back,” Lacey said after the game.
The resiliency came courtesy of Bobbitt, who responded with a perfect feed to Snow for an easy layup on the next possession. Less than 30 seconds later, following two free throws by Catchings, Bobbitt dribbled around the paint, somehow emerging from a lane full of taller players for a lay-in that gave Washington a 67-62 lead with 46 seconds remaining.