Hayes scores 23 points, McCoughtry adds 18 as Dream beats Fever 84-79 in Game 1 of East finals

Tiffany Hayes scored 23 points, Angel McCoughtry had 18 points and the Atlanta Dream beat the Indiana Fever 84-79 on Thursday night for a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

Armintie Herrington finished with 16 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had five assists for the Dream. Erika de Souza had 10 points.

McCoughtry scored on a three-point play to give the Dream an 81-75 lead with 1:07 left.

The league's leading scorer made three free throws down the stretch to help Atlanta seal the win.

Tamika Catchings led the Fever with 21 points, while Erlana Larkins had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Karima Christmas and Shavonte Zellous each had 15 points.

It's the third straight year the teams have faced each other in the East finals.

Game 2 is at Indiana on Sunday. The Dream split their two games at Indiana in the regular season.

With the score tied at 56, the Dream scored the last six points of the third quarter.

McCoughtry made a running layup, Hayes scored on a layup and Alex Bentley made a jumper to close out the quarter strong for Atlanta.

Despite the Dream's third-quarter surge, they had a tough time pulling away from the Fever. Indiana stayed in the game with timely baskets from Catchings and a couple of 3-pointers from Erin Phillips.

Hayes provided offense, while Herrington made several hustle plays to help give the Dream the edge.