Posted: Saturday, May 31st 2014 at 12:36am
Hayes has 20, Dream top road-weary Storm
By The Associated Press
ATLANTA -- One good jumper was all Tiffany Hayes needed to break out of a scoring slump.
Hayes scored a season-high 20 points - topping her combined total from Atlanta's first four games - and the Dream beat the road-weary Seattle Storm 80-69 on Friday night.
Angel McCoughtry, the two-time WNBA scoring leader, had 18 points and eight assists to help Atlanta (3-2) snap a two-game losing streak.
After Seattle took a 5-0 lead, Hayes hit a 3-pointer for the Dream.
"The first shot went down, the confidence goes up," said Hayes, the third-year guard from Connecticut. Hayes averaged 11.3 points in 2013 but had been in double figures in only one of the first four games.
"It's always just whatever the team needs from me," said Hayes, whose career high is 23 points.
Seattle led 48-41 early in the second half before McCoughtry had back-to-back baskets in a 10-0 third-quarter run that gave Atlanta the lead.
Seattle (1-5) capped a five-game trip, including four straight at Eastern Conference sites. Seattle plays 10 of its first 13 games on the road.
Sue Bird, who had three points while making only one of eight shots, wouldn't blame the Storm's second-half struggles on the team's brutal travel schedule.
"All teams go through road trips," Bird said. "I wouldn't say it's that. I just think we haven't been closing out games. ... In some of these games, it's a mindset."
Atlanta led 59-53 entering the final period. Temeka Johnson, who had 13 points, hit a 3-pointer to open the fourth, and the Storm pulled even at 61 but couldn't reclaim the lead. Following the tie, Erika de Souza, who had 14 points, sank two free throws and Atlanta kept the lead the remainder of the game.
Crystal Langhorne led Seattle with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Seattle was outscored 45-33 in the second half despite making a season-high eight 3-pointers outscoring the Dream 32-4 in points off the bench.
Atlanta first-year coach Michael Cooper is stressing an up-tempo pace, and the Dream took a 15-5 edge in fast-break points and appeared to wear down the Storm in the second half.
"We're a running team, so we try to do that to all teams," Hayes said. "Hopefully, that was the case."
Sancho Lyttle had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta.
Dream rookie Shoni Schimmel's No. 23 jerseys were a popular item in the crowd. Schimmel, the first-round pick from Louisville, grew up on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, and the Dream celebrated Native American night.
Schimmel entered the night with 37 assists, a record for a WNBA player in her first four games. Schimmel had two points and one assist.
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