ATLANTA, GA – Tiffany Hayes got a milestone, but what really mattered was the Atlanta Dream stopped a slide.
Behind 28 points from Hayes, including her 3,000 career WNBA point, the Dream ended a four-game losing streak with an 88-78 win over the Indiana Fever.
Indiana got to a hot start, scoring 6 out of the gate. The last two baskets were on fast breaks as Indiana was able to beat the Atlanta defense to the hoop. It led Dream coach Nikki Collen to call a timeout.
That proceeded to change the entire tempo.
“We obviously got off to a similar start,” Collen said, alluding to the previous four losses. “But I called the timeout and really challenged them. I think we were pretty good from there on out.”
From that point on, the Dream battled back and tied Indiana at the end of the first quarter at 17 all. The teams stayed close throughout the second and third quarters before the Dream finally pulled away during the fourth.
Guard Renee Montgomery also attributed the first quarter timeout as a factor in the teams’ renewal of focus. “(Coach Collen told us to) take care of the ball,” she said in the postgame press conference. “Decision making has been a point of emphasis. There are certain things that we allowed them to do that we went over in practice. Just attention to detail. A lot of time as players, there’s things we already know.”
But overall, the afternoon belonged to Hayes. She picked up 20 in the first half as Atlanta entered the break with a one-point edge. She came into the contest needing 24 for 3,000 and was able to surpass it on a lay-up in the second half.
Not that she knew it. Afterwards, she confessed that a teammate had to tell her that she broke the mark. What mattered more was the win.
“We finally hit some shots,” she said. “We were really in sync on the offensive end. We moved the ball well. All of us were knocking down shots today. Lord knows we’ve all been wanting to knock down shots because they’ve been open.”
Montgomery had 16 points, while Elizabeth Williams put in ten. Jessica Breland led the team in rebounds with 6. She came into the game needing one more blocked shot to reach 300 for the career but came up empty. Her next chance comes tonight as Atlanta plays at Connecticut.
Indiana was led by Candice Dupree with 19 points and Kelsey Mitchell had 16. Former Mississippi State All-American Teaira McCowan had her first career start, and the rookie didn’t disappoint several Mississippi State fans in attendance. She scored 14 points and led the Fever in rebounding with 14.
But she knows she still has a way to go. When asked if there was anything she needed to work on, she responded, “Keeping myself from getting frustrated. I just had to take it back and be like ‘It’s okay, we’re going to get the next one.’”
For Indiana, the next one will be tonight at Chicago. It’s the middle stop of a three-game road swing. The Fever are 4-5 and will use the contest with the Sky as a stepping-stone back to an even record.
The announced attendance was 6,474. The matinee was a Kids day event, and the youngsters gave State Farm Arena a raucous atmosphere.

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