Indiana falls to Atlanta in OT, 89-80


WNBA | Philips Arena

September 4, 2013

ATLANTA – Angel McCoughtry scored 30 points and added nine rebounds Wednesday to pace the Atlanta Dream to an 89-80 overtime win over the Indiana Fever.

Atlanta scored four consecutive fast-break layups in overtime to lead the Dream (16-13) to a nip-and-tuck win over the Fever and clinch its fifth straight berth in the WNBA Playoffs. The Fever (13-16), playing without starting point guard Briann January who fell ill Wednesday afternoon, lost for the fifth time in seven games.

In the extra session, each team hit free throws before Erika DeSouza’s layup gave the Dream a 79-77 advantage that it never relinquished. Armintie Herrington added another fast break bucket and McCoughtry had two more to build an 85-77 Atlanta lead with 1:05 left in OT. Atlanta outscored Indiana 13-4 in overtime.

“I thought we needed to win in regulation,” said Fever coach Lin Dunn. “I thought fatigue might catch up to us in overtime, and it did.”

From the time Indiana took its first second-half lead at 61-60 with 8:40 left in regulation, neither team made consecutive scores until Layshia Clarendon’s layin and Tamika Catchings’ free throw with under a minute remaining gave Indiana a 76-74 lead.

The late see-saw battle featured seven lead changes and six ties in the fourth quarter, alone.

The contest went to overtime when DeSouza’s putback tied the score with 15.6 seconds in regulation. Indiana’s chance for a win faded with an offensive foul on Karima Christmas. McCoughtry attempted a desperation heave that missed as the buzzer sounded.

McCoughtry also added eight assists and three steals for the Dream, who won its second straight. DeSouza finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds, with Aneika Henry adding 13.

Catchings paced Indiana with 22 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Shavonte Zellous added 15 and Erlana Larkins contributed 10 points while tying a franchise record with 17 rebounds. A year ago, Larkins matched a franchise playoff mark with 20 boards against the Dream in the East Finals.

“I can’t fault our effort or our energy,” added Dunn. “We did all that we could to have a chance to steal a win on the road. [Atlanta is] a very good team and they got some of their players back tonight. We were short-handed again and, while that’s not an excuse, I look very forward to playing this team again when we are at full strength.”

Overall, the Dream outshot (42.5% to 35.5%) and outrebounded (47-40) the Fever, but nine Indiana 3-pointers helped curb the difference. Catchings, Zellous, Christmas and Erin Phillips – who started in place of January – each had a pair.

Atlanta limited the Fever to 28 percent shooting in the first half, racing to a 40-33 lead at intermission.

The Dream led by 10 in the first half and by as many as nine in the second before the short-handed Fever whittled away to take its first lead, 61-60, since the game’s opening minutes.

Indiana remains in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, still seeking to clinch its ninth consecutive playoff berth. The Fever continues its road stretch when it visits Chicago on Friday, prior to hosting Connecticut on Saturday, Sept. 7 for Breast Health Awareness Night.