Angel McCoughtry, the two-time WNBA scoring leader, had 18 points and eight assists to help Atlanta (3-2) snap a two-game losing streak.
“The first shot went down, the confidence goes up,” said Hayes, the third-year guard from Connecticut. Hayes averaged 11.3 points in 2013 but had been in double figures in only one of the first four games.
“It’s always just whatever the team needs from me,” said Hayes, whose career high is 23 points.
Sue Bird, who had three points while making only one of eight shots, wouldn’t blame the Storm’s second-half struggles on the team’s brutal travel schedule.
“All teams go through road trips,” Bird said. “I wouldn’t say it’s that. I just think we haven’t been closing out games. … In some of these games, it’s a mindset.”
Atlanta led 59-53 entering the final period. Temeka Johnson, who had 13 points, hit a 3-pointer to open the fourth, and the Storm pulled even at 61 but couldn’t reclaim the lead. Following the tie, Erika de Souza, who had 14 points, sank two free throws and Atlanta kept the lead the remainder of the game.
Crystal Langhorne led Seattle with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Seattle was outscored 45-33 in the second half despite making a season-high eight 3-pointers outscoring the Dream 32-4 in points off the bench.
“We’re a running team, so we try to do that to all teams,” Hayes said. “Hopefully, that was the case.”