For one quarter of Tuesday afternoonís game in Atlanta, the Indiana Fever outplayed the best team in the WNBA. Playing without six injured players, the Fever nonetheless came out fearlessly, building an eight-point lead in the gameís first nine minutes.
From there, fatigue and reality set in, as Atlanta (8-1) used a 19-0 run to seize control of the game and coast to a 76-60 victory. Indiana (1-7) has now lost seven straight games.
The undermanned Fever displayed resilience in the early going. Karima Christmas scored seven points in the first quarter, and her free throw with 58.8 seconds remaining gave Indiana a 20-12 lead. But the Fever went scoreless over the next 6:10, as Atlanta scored 19 unanswered points and never trailed the rest of the way.
Christmasí converted a three-point play 1:12 into the third quarter to cut the Dreamís lead to three points, but thatís as close as Indiana got. Atlanta led by double digits for the gameís final 13:23.
Christmas was a bright spot for the Fever, recording career-highs with 16 points and 10 rebounds en route to a double-double. Shavonte Zellous continued to contribute offensively, scoring 18 points. Briann January had seven points, five rebounds, and five assists. Jessica Breland, making her first start of the season, had six points and six rebounds. Rookie forward Jasmine Hassell, just re-signed on Friday, added seven points and four rebounds off the bench.
Turnovers and fatigue doomed Indiana. The Fever coughed the ball up a season-high 26 times while playing just eight players due to an assortment of injuries.
Reigning WNBA Finals MVP Tamika Catchings missed her second straight game with a lower back injury. The Fever was also without rookie guard Layshia Clarendon, who was injured late in Indianaís loss to Chicago on Saturday. Katie Douglas missed her sixth straight game, while Erin Phillips and Jeanette Pohlen continue to rehab from injuries. Center Jessica Davenport is out for the season.
Erika de Souza led Atlanta with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Angel McCoughtry had 16 points, seven steals, and four assists. Six additional players contributed five points or more.