The Dream (2-1) have bracketed a 30-point loss to the Las Vegas Aces with victories over Dallas and New York, posting an 84-78 triumph over the Liberty on Friday. Betnijah Laney scored a career-high 30 points and rookie Chennedy Carter added 17, including a key basket in the fourth quarter when Atlanta was clinging to a two-point advantage after leading by as many as 14.
"I think what she did that made a huge difference tonight was some of her offensive rebounds," Dream coach Nicki Collen told the team's official website as Laney went 11 of 18 from the field and also finished with eight boards. "The late offensive rebound [and] putback she had was huge. The late steal on that baseline out-of-bounds. Just the little plays were big."
Carter, the fourth overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft, has gotten off to a quick start, reaching double figures in all three games and setting a season high with eight assists in Friday's win. The Texas A&M grad has been getting to the line consistently, sinking 16 of 19 free throws.
The Fever (1-2) have alternated losses and wins through their first three contests in the "wubble," absorbing defeats from Washington and Dallas around a victory over Phoenix. Rookie Julie Allemand tied a franchise record with 11 assists Friday night, but it was not enough as Indiana lost 76-73 to the Wings.
Indiana's bench tried to pick up the scoring slack, with Stephanie Mavunga accounting for 10 of the 37 points scored by the reserves, but the Fever shot just 36.1 percent.
"The game was winnable," Fever coach Marianne Stanley said. "I think we got a little bit frustrated offensively and didn't execute the way we can. Their length and size bothered us."
Indiana is challenged in terms of depth, with rookie point guard Kathleen Doyle day-to-day with an ankle injury along with forward Natalie Achonwa, who suffered a hamstring injury in the second quarter Friday and did not return. Erica Wheeler and rookie Lauren Cox have yet to play due to testing positive for COVID-19, but Cox has rejoined the team in Orlando.
"I can't wait to have them on the court, too, it's really hard to play so many minutes, especially when you play every two days," said Allemand, who has averaged 4.7 points and 5.3 assists running the point. About Doyle and Wheeler. "I hope that Katie will be there the next game and E-Dub will come as soon as possible, because we need that. We need to be a team and be together."
Indiana won the final two games of the three between the teams last year.