ATLANTA – The Indiana Fever came up short of a historic comeback in a 91-81 road loss to the Atlanta Dream on Wednesday night. Down by as much as 30 points in the game, the Fever cut the deficit down to five points with under five minutes remaining in the game. Fever rookie forward NaLyssa Smith finished with 21 points, her fifth 20-point game of the season, as Indiana moves to 5-28 this season and Atlanta is now 13-18.
The game started off with the Dream shooting a perfect 4-of-4 from three and a 17-5 run to end the quarter. Atlanta missed four missed shots and put 36 points on the board — the most in the first quarter this season for the Dream.
In the second quarter, Indiana struggled to get shots to fall or push the ball on the fastbreak. At the end of the first half, Atlanta hit a season-high 8-of-13 from the three-point line and scored a season-high 62 points in the first half. Dream rookie guard Rhyne Howard had 14 points in the half. For Indiana, they entered the break with 10 first-half turnovers and were led by Smith’s nine first-half points and rookie guard Lexie Hull’s eight points in the quarter.
It was the third quarter that sparked the Fever’s run. Indiana began the second half on an 11-2 run, and began to slow down the once red-hot Atlanta offense. Three quick fouls in the third quarter from Howard resulted in her only scoring two points in the quarter. Behind Fever forward Emma Cannon’s eight points in the quarter, the score was 75-62 going into the fourth.
Once again, the Fever began the quarter on a run — this time 14-7 — and with 5:02 remaining in the game, Indiana had roared back to cut the Dream lead to five points. Atlanta stole the momentum just long enough to go on a 7-0 run and push the lead back up to 11 with 2:56 left to play. From there, Atlanta would hang on for the win.
In addition to Smith’s 21 points, Cannon posted a season-high 16 points off the bench. Hull finished the game with a career-high 14 points, a career-high seven rebounds and also tied her career-high with four steals. Guard Danielle Robinson also scored 14 points.
On the Atlanta side, Howard finished the game with 20 points. Forward Cheyenne Parker added 17 points and guard Aari McDonald scored 13 points. Guard Maya Caldwell and Kristy Wallace scored 12 points and 10 points, respectively. Despite the win, Atlanta was outscored 47-29 in the second half and shot only 12-of-33 from the field and 0-of-11 from three.
Indiana will take on the Wings in Dallas on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
Saturday’s game will be streamed on the official Indiana Fever Facebook page, as well as broadcast on NBA TV.