WNBA

Dream 86, Fever 77

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP)

Tamika Catchings didn't let a loss in the home opener put a damper on her mood after finally receiving a championship ring.

The Indiana Fever celebrated last season's title as they got their rings and raised the banner to commemorate the championship.

''Finally, right?'' said Catchings, now in her 12th season in the WNBA. ''It's about time. I think that this night was just more of, `OK, 2012, this is the last piece of it.' Now we can move forward and get ready for 2013.''

Once she got the ring, Catchings grabbed the microphone to thank fans and to voice her support for the Indiana Pacers, playing in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat, and suggest the NBA team get another ring for fans. Of course, she'll take a second championship ring as well.

''Hey, I want another one, too,'' Catchings said. ''Not to be greedy.''

However, after the celebration it was time for the Fever to get back to work and the Atlanta Dream didn't make it easy.

Angel McCoughtry had 29 points and nine rebounds to help the Dream to an 86-77 victory over the Fever on Friday night.

''We played well, especially against Indiana, one of the best teams,'' McCoughtry said. ''We still have a lot to work on and we have to get better each game.''

Catchings had 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and Katie Douglas scored 17 points to lead the Fever.

The Dream went on a 10-0 run at the end of the third quarter.

Tiffany Hayes made a layup and two free throws and Alex Bentley hit two jumpers - including one with 21 seconds left in the third - to give the Dream a 71-61 lead, and they led the rest of the way.

''It's nice to have the ring, but the ring's over,'' Fever coach Lin Dunn said. ''We scored 77 points, but it was probably the worst defensive game I can remember in ages.''

The Fever have been injury-riddled early on. Center Jessica Davenport, and guards Jeannette Pohlen and Erin Phillips received their rings in street clothes as preseason injuries keep them on the bench.

Tammy Sutton-Brown returned to Indianapolis for the second time since winning the league title last year. She sat courtside during Friday's game after receiving her ring and celebrating with her former teammates. The 12-year veteran isn't playing this season.

''The ring is beautiful,'' Sutton-Brown said. ''It took 12 years, but I'm so grateful. Very few people actually get to win a championship. There are a lot of people who go through their career without one, so this was amazing.''

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