INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Angel McCoughtry hit a 3-point shot from the top of the key with 8.8 seconds to play in the second overtime, and the Atlanta Dream held on for a 90-88 win over the Indiana Fever on Saturday night.
McCoughtry led the Dream (2-0) by scoring 27 points in a reserve role. Erika DeSouza and Shoni Schimmel added 17 each, and Schimmel had 10 assists. Sancho Lyttle scored 10 points and grabbed 21 rebounds.
Erlana Larkins had a double-double for the Fever (0-2), scoring 17 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Rookie Natasha Howard scored 21 points, and Briann January had 20.
The Fever played again without All-Star forward Tamika Catchings (back).
“For my first home game, it was good, and we fought to the end,” said Howard, the No. 5 pick in the WNBA draft. “We’re like sisters on this team, and we’re still getting to know each other and play with each other.”
McCoughtry didn’t know if the winning basket came off a play designed for her, but she made the most of the opportunity. She cut off a screen, and despite being challenged, made the shot from the top of the key.
“Honestly, I didn’t think that was the play,” she said. “Sancho just saw me. I told her, `It was a really smart play.”‘
McCoughtry said she didn’t start because coach Michael Cooper was trying to rest McCoughtry’s sore right hip after her long return from Turkey, where she played during the offseason.
A large contingent of fans from Louisville, where McCoughtry and Schimmel played, made them feel more at home.
“I didn’t think they would be that large,” McCoughtry said. “I’m just excited for our team. That was extra fun, definitely.”
The Fever went for the win on their final possession, but Maggie Lucas’ 3-point shot from the right side bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
“It was a great game,” Fever coach Lin Dunn said. “We lost it at the free-throw line. We did not take the opportunity to win this game. We need to take better care of the basketball.”
The Fever missed nine of 19 free throws. The Dream made 15 of 19. Indiana shot 50 percent from the floor (37 of 74), and the Dream made 35 of 72 shots (48.6 percent).
The game featured 15 lead changes and 11 ties. Indiana held the biggest edge, a 10-point lead in the first half.
“What a basketball game!” Cooper said of the matchup between last year’s Eastern Conference semifinalists. “Both teams played hard. Our training camp was good, and our conditioning paid off.”