The Dream ended the nightmarish start to their season, at least for now.
After an opening-game victory, the Dream had lost five consecutive games before Wednesday’s matinee matchup against the Indiana Fever. But in the end, the Dream’s shooting proved too much for the Fever (4-5), who lost 88-78.
Three quarters and 13 lead changes passed before the Dream (2-5) took control. Ahead 65-61 near the start of the fourth, the Dream’s 3-point shooting sparked the team late in the game. Renne Montgomery made back-to-back 3’s midway through the final period, giving the Dream a 76-65 cushion.
The Fever started to mount the beginnings of a comeback, but Tiffany Hayes’ 3-pointer with just over three minutes remaining in the game propelled the score to 83-72. Two minutes later, she drove to the lane, scoring her 3,000th career point, and essentially put the game out of reach.
“I’ve had to answer for two weeks, ‘What’s wrong with the Dream?’ ” coach Nicki Collen said. “Sometimes it takes these hurdles, and I’ve continued to tell them, ‘You just can’t turn speed bumps into road blocks. As long as your learn from your losses and you keep getting better, then we’ll get to where we need to go.’”
The early part of the game looked all too familiar to the Dream’s early-season road bumps. The Fever scored three easy buckets off two missed shots and a turnover by the Dream. Down 6-0 with only two minutes played in the game, Collen called a timeout and challenged her team.
“She told to us take care of the ball,” Montgomery said. “There were certain things we went over in practice and then we came and we allowed them to do the things that we went over to not allow them to do. “(She said) just focus to detail, attention to detail, and then she drew the play. We got the message.”
Hayes finished with 28 points, followed by Montgomery’s 16. Collectively, the Dream made 45% of their 3-point shots, led by Hayes and Montgomery, who made 4 of 6 and 4 of 9, respectively. Indiana shot 28% from 3, and was led in scoring by forward Candice Dupree (19 points) and guard Kelsey Mitchell (16 points).
Both teams play again Friday — the Dream will travel to Connecticut to face the Sun while Indiana will play the Sky in Chicago.