ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Dream's 3-9 start is now a distant memory. The defending Eastern Conference champs are one of the best teams in the WNBA again.
Angel McCoughtry had 28 points and Sancho Lyttle hit a short jumper with 0.9 seconds left to give the Dream a 92-90 victory over the first-place Indiana Fever on Tuesday night.
Indiana clinched a berth in the WNBA playoffs despite the loss. But Indiana (19-10) has dropped all three games to the Dream (16-13) this season.
"We have amazing spirit on this team," coach Marynell Meadors said of the Dream's turnaround. "I'm very proud of them. There were many times when they could have folded up."
The Dream trailed 88-83 with just over 2 minutes left, but took advantage of a steal by Armintie Price with about 6 seconds left to race downcourt for the winning shot by Lyttle, who had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
"I was just trying to go as fast as I could and I thought that Sancho would be there on my right," Price said. "We can talk without talking, we know each other so well."
Lyttle had missed two free throws with 29.9 seconds remaining. "I couldn't miss that shot," she said of the winner. "Nobody wanted to go to overtime."
Erin Phillips had 21 points and Tamika Catchings scored 20 for Indiana. But the Fever turned over the ball 19 times.
"We had way too many turnovers and the game ended on a turnover," said Indiana coach Lin Dunn, whose team shot 50 percent.
Price had 16 points, but it is her defense that always sets her apart.
"She just seemed to know where the ball was going to go," Meadors said of Price's heist of Catchings' pass. "She is one of the best defensive players in the league."
The Dream, in fourth place a half-game behind New York, won despite losing leading rebounder and second-leading scorer Erika de Souza to a right ankle sprain midway through the third quarter. De Souza, who averages 12.7 points and 7.9 rebounds, had nine points and four rebounds when she was hurt.
"I thought our defense really tightened up in the last few minutes," said Meadors, whose team has won eight of its past 10 games.
Dunn felt that a pivotal moment came early in the fourth quarter, when the Fever drew a flagrant foul that the Dream turned into four points. "I really thought that was a bad call," the coach said.
"I think we played hard, just not smart in certain situations," Catchings said.
Indiana was 4 for 7 on 3-pointers while taking a 49-46 halftime lead. Catchings had 11 first-half points and Shavonte Zelious came off the bench to score nine, all in the second quarter.
The Fever jumped to a 15-9 lead, but the Dream went on a 10-0 run and were up 23-19 at the end of the first quarter. Price had seven points and Lyttle scored six in the period for the Dream, the pair combining to shoot 6 for 7 from the floor.
The Dream outshot the Fever 55 percent to 39.2 percent while winning 86-80 on Saturday in Indiana, and took the teams' first meeting in Atlanta 84-74 on July 19. The teams finish the regular season in Indiana on Sept. 11.
"They came into our gym and basically kicked our butts and we wanted to come to their gym and basically do the same thing," Indiana's Phillips said. "But that didn't happen."
"This team has a lot of heart," McCoughtry said. "We showed that again tonight and we've shown it all season. When you have struggles in the beginning, it makes winning so much better."
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