ATLANTA — Chamique Holdsclaw was not going to let her first game in two years end up in a loss with the Atlanta Dream, even if it meant playing two extra periods with a balky knee.
Holdsclaw scored 23 points to lead the Dream to an 87-86 double overtime victory over the Indiana Fever on Saturday night.
"There's no quit in her," Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said of Holdsclaw. "She's a tremendous leader for us — not only by what she says on the court but by how she reacts to everything and makes thing happen herself."
The six-time All-Star, who retired after playing just five games for Los Angeles in 2007, came two points short of becoming the ninth player in WNBA history to score 4,000 career points. She got her 300th career steal.
A couple weeks before the season, Holdsclaw said knee was about 85 percent after surgery five months ago. Her knee looked just fine on Saturday night, playing over 45 minutes — the second most in the game.
"Chamique is Chamique and she knows what to do to win," Meadors said. "That's why she's here."
Erika DeSouza added 16 points and grabbed 17 rebounds for Atlanta, which set a league record last season by losing its first 17 games. The Dream finished 1-16 at home.
Dream rookie Angel McCoughtry scored 15 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while Iziane Castro Marques and Teasley each finished with 10 points. McCoughtry, an All-American who led Louisville to the national title game, went 9 of 12 from the free throw line.
Katie Douglas led Indiana with 22 points. Tully Bevilaqua added 18 points and Tamika Catchings and Tammy Sutton-Brown each added 15.
In the second overtime, the Dream jumped out to an 85-81 advantage on jumpers by Coco Miller and Holdsclaw. Indiana cut the margin to a point on Douglas' layup with 1:15 left.
Catchings, who went 5-for-18 from the floor, missed a potential game-winning jumper at the buzzer.
Atlanta was trailing near the end of the fourth quarter and overtime. But the Dream, a team that struggled to closeout late games last season, found a way to pullback in the closing moments of the period.
The Fever scored five straight points to begin overtime, sparked by Catching's jumper to claim a 76-73 lead. But Atlanta pulled within one point after a jumper by Holdsclaw and Castro Marques' layup with 1:45 left in OT.
Holdsclaw hit two free throws to put the Dream ahead 77-76 with 22.8 seconds remaining. Indiana was called for a 5-second violation soon after as McCoughtry made one foul shot to give Atlanta a two-point lead.
The Fever tied the game at 79-79 on a layup with 11.6 second left by Sutton-Brown, who finished with 15 points.
DeSouza credited her team's defense.
"Our D really pulled us through," she said. "Our offense didn't not give up either."
Fever coach Lin Dunn pointed toward the 50-32 rebound advantage by the Dream.
"They're good, they're big, they're strong, they're long, they're deep," Dunn said.