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Hayes leads Dream past Shock 85-75

AP - Sports

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Tiffany Hayes scored a career-high 27 points, Angel McCoughtry added 21 and Erika DeSouza had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Atlanta Dream to a 85-75 victory over Tulsa on Thursday night.

The Dream trio combined to go 25-of-37 from the field for the East Conference leaders. Atlanta (17-9) dominated in the paint with 48 points. Sancho Lyttle also hit double figures with 10 points.

Hayes, who scored 16 points in the first half on 7-for-8 shooting from the field, silenced the crowd of 6,841 when she hit her head on the floor in the final 30 seconds of the third quarter. After sitting out the first two minutes of the fourth, she re-entered the game.

''As long as a limb's not hanging, then keep pushing,'' Hayes said. ''We're Atlanta, everyone is always coming at us. You just have to get back up and play through it.''

Odyssey Sims scored 22 for Tulsa, and Glory Johnson and Skylar Diggins each had 14 points. The Shock (10-18) also fared well in the low post with 44 points.

The Dream victory put a dent in Tulsa's playoff hopes. The Shock dropped to 2 1/2 games behind fourth-place Los Angeles for the final playoff spot in the West.

Hayes credited the team's defense for holding Tulsa 37-percent shooting, including 4 for 15 on 3-pointers.

''Defense leads to everything,'' Hayes said. ''No matter who has the hot hand or who's doing what, as long as our defense is on point and our communication is there, no one can beat us but ourselves.

''Tulsa is a 3-point shooting team and our goal was either to not give them 3's or to make them hotly contested.''

McCoughtry was glad to get the win but didn't think the team played all that well.

''We can play so much better than tonight,'' McCoughtry said. ''We had so many turnovers (23). We can be so much better. We still haven't reached our potential.''

Atlanta's Courtney Paris expected a fast pace from her former teammates.

''They're a great team, they play up and down real fast,'' Paris said. ''We were right there with them. We competed, we just didn't get shots to fall in the first half. At the end of the day, you want to win and it hurts not to win. But you can look at the development and know that it is one of the best teams in the league.''

Tiffany Jackson-Jones saw her first action of the season for the Shock. Jackson-Jones had been out with a shin injury. She entered in the third period and scored two quick baskets.

''I was so nervous,'' Jackson-Jones said. ''I was really excited. I tried to bring a lot of energy. Scoring quickly helped to settle my nerves.''

A veteran, Jackson-Jones understands what it takes for Tulsa to get to where the Dream are.

''We're a work in progress,'' she said. ''If you remember Atlanta was 3-and-20-something a few years ago. Now they are the leaders of the Eastern Conference. If we continue to stick with it, we will be OK.''

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