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McCoughtry struggles? No problem! Hayes saves Dream's day

Tiffany Hayes would not let her team lose against the Indiana Fever. Hayes dropped 28 points, which not only saved the victory for the Atlanta Dream, but their playoff hopes as well.

Chris Poss

Both Indiana and Atlanta went into the night looking to increase their chances of continuing their playoff appearances.  The Fever have been the last eleven years, while the Dream have made it the last six.

What started as a game dominated by the Fever, ended up to be one great contest.  Indiana got off to an early lead in the first three minutes, when the Dream finally made two free throws to end their 10-0 run.

Atlanta still struggled to keep up through the first quarter, which ended with a 24-14 lead to the home Fever.  Indiana led by 12 at one point, which would be the largest point deficit of the game.

The second quarter was an entirely different story.  The Dream outscored the Fever 24-17, closing Indiana's lead to three.  Atlanta got its first lead of the night with 2:02 left in the half.  Teams would have gone into the locker room tied at 38, had it not been for Clarendon's impressive 3-pointer with only two seconds left.

Halfway through the quarter, there were some harsh words exchanged between Milton-Jones and Achonwa, after a foul by Milton-Jones.  It led to a technical for Achonwa.

The third was filled with more physical action, ending with a 67-61 lead to the Fever.  The final quarter included many lead changes, as well as many turnovers.  Indiana finished the night with 19 turnovers, resulting in 24 points for Atlanta.

In the end, Indiana's defense could not hold firm.  Atlanta won with a final score of 90-84 after going on a 23-8 run to win the game.

"They played, and I mean this in every sense of the word as a compliment, with reckless abandon," said Fever Head Coach Stephanie White. "They played desperate.  They got every loose ball.  They got every hustle play.  They wanted it more than we did, and they deserved to win it."

After making her fourth free throw on the night, Tamika Catchings became #1 all-time for free throws made in the WNBA with 1,869.  Another record-breaker tonight was Atlanta's DaLisha Milton-Jones, who played in her 497th game, surpassing Tina Thompson.

Another notable happening would be the Dream's Tiffany Hayes' career-high 28 points.  Also, the Fever's Briann January left the game limping in the first half and did not return the rest of the night.

"They got that early lead on us, but we didn't put our head down," said Dream Head Coach Michael Cooper.  "We had some people to step up, play some good basketball for us."

The Dream continue their late season push, having now won three straight and five of seven after a previous six consecutive losses.   Their next game is at home against Chicago.   The Fever now have back-to-back home losses and look to win their next game on the road against Tulsa, as they try to become the #1 team in the East over New York.

"It was a hard-fought game, of course, we know that," said the Dream's Tiffany Hayes. "And it was an Eastern conference game, so I'm glad we were able to get the win out of it."