The Atlanta Dream’s home opener ended with a loss - and some controversy.
The visiting Indiana Fever came away with a 90-87 victory after successfully challenging to overturn a foul call with 16.7 seconds remaining in the WNBA contest at the soldout Gateway Center Arena on Sunday.
With the Dream’s Allisha Gray on a fast break after a defensive rebound, trailing 88-87, officials called a foul on the Fever’s Kelsey Mitchell as Gray missed a layup. It appeared Mitchell made contact with Gray’s back as she drove to the basket. However, after a coaches challenge, the call was reversed and the Fever had the ball with the one-point lead.
Dream head coach Tanisha Wright said she was not given a detailed explanation for the reversal on the key call.
“So, for the explanation they just said it was as successful challenge there was no defensive foul is what they said,” Wright said.
With the Dream forced to foul, Mitchell made a pair of free throws to give the Fever a three-point lead with 13 seconds remaining.
The game ended when the Dream’s Ryne Howard missed a 3-pointer with two seconds remaining and the Fever had their first win of the season.
“We got the shot that we wanted,” Wright said. “We tried to get a look originally, and I told (Howard) if she can’t get the shot to go ahead and just try to play one on one and get a shot up which are certain those situations. But they executed to play the way it was supposed to be executed.”
Howard led the Dream (1-2) with 23 points. Cheyenne Parker added 21 points and Gray had 19 points. The three combined for all but 24 of the Dream’s point total.
Nalyssa Smith led the Fever (1-2) with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Mitchell finished with 15 points. Rookie Aliyah Boston, the No. 1 overall pick out of South Carolina, had 13 points and seven rebounds
Wright lamented the five offensive rebounds from the Fever’s Queen Egbo as an area of emphasis and improvement.
“The bottom line is this league is hard,” Wright said. “It’s gonna be hard every night. And we can’t take that we can’t take that for granted. No game is gonna be easy. And so if we’re going to win games, we’ve got to be high level in terms of our execution, whether it’s on offense, whether that’s on defense.”
The Dream will continue on a five-game homestand against the Chicago Sky on Tuesday.