Fever end record 20-game losing streak with 90-87 win over Atlanta
ATLANTA (AP) — NaLyssa Smith scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to help the Indiana Fever end a WNBA record-tying 20-game losing streak with a 90-87 win over the Atlanta Dream on Sunday.
The Fever had lost 20 in a row dating back to last season to tie the Tulsa Shock for the most consecutive losses all-time. Indiana lost its final 18 games last season before dropping its first two this year.
The game featured seven ties and 20 lead changes and the outcome was hanging in the balance when the Fever had a successful coach’s challenge with 16.7 seconds left while holding an 88-87 lead.
After an Indiana miss, Alyssa Gray took the long rebound quickly downcourt and drove on Kelsey Mitchell. A foul was called but Fever coach Christie Sides challenged it. After a review, officials determined there wasn’t enough contact to warrant a foul.
Indiana got the ball out of bounds and after a miss, Mitchell snared the offensive rebound and was fouled. She made two free throws with 13.2 seconds left and Rhyne Howard was well off the mark for an Atlanta 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
Mitchell scored 15 points and No. 1 overall draft pick Aliyah Boston added 13 for Indiana (1-2).
Howard led Atlanta (1-2) with 23 points, Cheyenne Gray had 21 and Gray 19.
Gray gave Atlanta its last lead at 82-81 with a 3-pointer but Vivian Vivians answered that with a 3, her only basket of the game, with 3:57 to play. Smith’s basket with less than 50 seconds to go put the Fever up 88-85 before Howard made two free throws, setting up the finish.
The Dream went 16 of 19 from the foul line, outscoring the Fever by a dozen, to open a 47-41 lead at the half. Atlanta finished 29 of 34 for a plus-20 at the stripe but was outrebounded 41-29.