The Atlanta Dream dropped their second straight game Sunday night as they fell to the Indiana Fever 82-77 in overtime. Indiana brought their hard hats to Philips Arena and went to work inside behind an exceptional performance by center Eriana Larkins who finished with 13 points and a franchise record 22 rebounds.
Larkins hit 5-8 shots and controlled the interior for the Fever. She accounted for 22 of Indiana's 37 rebounds in the game and out rebounded Atlanta's interior duo of Sancho Lyttle and Erika de Souza 22-17.
"When you have a player dominate the boards like that, it is going to be tough for you to win some games," Dream head coach Michael Cooper said. "Tonight was no different than the last time we played this team."
The last time these two teams met it was Atlanta's Lyttle who pulled down 21 rebounds in a double overtime win for the Dream. After a back and forth first quarter, Atlanta fell behind in the second. They battled back in the third but never could find a rhythm at either end of the floor in order gain any momentum.
The Dream held the Fever to a franchise low four points in the fourth quarter but were only able to manage eight of their own to force overtime. Indiana scored the first six points of the extra session and barely looked back.
Cooper alluded to fatigue playing a part in the loss but wouldn't use that as an excuse. Indiana came into the game rested while Atlanta played in Chicago on Saturday. Atlanta out shot Indiana 46 percent to 38 but the Fever held a 17-9 advantage in second chance points and were 6-18 from three-point range. Atlanta was just 3-15 from beyond-the-arc.
Angel McCoughtry returned from a one-game absence due to a sore shoulder to lead the Dream with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. Jasmine Thomas scored 11 of her 17 in the third quarter. Sancho Lyttle added 15 points and eight rebounds while Erika de Souza narrowly missed out on a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Rookie Shoni Schimmel made her second straight start for the Dream but struggled finishing with four points and eight assists to go along with five turnovers. She finished 1-6 from the field.
"I think Shoni's trying to do too much," said Cooper. "Obviously she is a rookie and I think she is trying to do the right thing for us and what she feels is best. The only thing I think is those passes over the top she could take those away and maybe hit the wing and let them get it. Other than that I thought she played pretty good."
Schimmel has handed out 37 assists in her first four games in the WNBA but she has turned the ball over 20 times so that is a little bit of what Cooper is talking about.
Atlanta gets another break in the schedule with their next game coming on Friday against the Seattle Storm at Philips Arena.