More than 4,000 fans were treated to one of the best games of the WNBA season on Wednesday night as the Atlanta Dream outlasted a stubborn Indiana Fever team in overtime winning the match-up 89-80. In winning the game the Atlanta Dream finally locked up their playoff position.
The game was notable for several significant individual achievements; the WNBA's leading scorer, Angel McCoughtry scored 30 points; Erika de Souza recorded her fifteenth double double tying her own season record; and the Fever's Tamika Catchings used the game to score her 2,000th field goal, only the seventh player in WNBA history to reach that milestone.
But the game was much more significant for the team as the Dream sealed their place in the playoffs and the second seeding in the eastern conference. The win and the seeding guarantees them home court advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs. Their opponent has yet to be determined but will likely be either the Mystics or the Fever.
The game started at a good pace with Angel McCoughtry dominating from the field going four of four in the first period. Leading by as many 10 the Dream ended the quarter up by seven shooting over 52% from the field. The Fever had difficulty out of the blocks shooting only 25% from the field in the first period.
The second period went the same way as the first with the Dream's defense preventing the Fever too many second chance points by pulling down 16 defensive rebounds in the first half. Going into the break up by seven points the Dream knew they couldn't relax in the second half.
The second half was great entertainment for the fans. The fourth quarter started with the Dream up by four points and ended with the game in a tie. During the quarter there were seven lead changes and five ties as the Fever clawed their way back into the game and eventually took the lead until a clutch lay-up by de Souza tied the game at 76. The fans were on their feet for the entire period and the atmosphere was electric.
With the game on the line in overtime, McCoughtry took over, scoring five points and registering two huge steals as fatigue took over the Fever. The Dream outscored Indiana 13-4 in overtime to finish the game up by nine.
Neither Erlana Larkins, Fever center nor coach Lin Dunn wanted overtime, "They came out and jumped on us, and we fought hard,' Larkins said. 'So when I saw overtime, of course it was a little exhausting for the mind, but I said let's kept pushing, it's only five minutes."
Coach Dunn added, "I thought we needed to win the ball game in regulation, but going into overtime - as far as the fatigue- this would really hurt us,' Indiana coach Lin Dunn said. 'And it did, but we had a chance to win in regulation.
McCoughtry led the Dream with 30 points and Erika de Souza added 17 points and 14 rebounds while Herrington added 13 from the bench. For the Fever, Tamika Catchings finished with 22 points and Erlana Larkins had 10 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.
Now that their playoff position is assured the Dream can relax and work at getting their injured players healthy for the challenges of a playoff series although next up for the Dream is a game Friday night back in New York against the Liberty before they finish the home season on Sunday against Phoenix. The Fever travel to Chicago to take on the Sky.