Minnesota continued its winning streak in Philips Arena with an 84-74 dispatching of the Atlanta Dream Saturday evening.
Not quite a year ago, the Lynx earned their first WNBA Championship on the very same court.
The chants from the tunnel before the Lynx entered the arena were identical to the sounds heard on the series sweeping night.
Five players from that, pardon the name, Dream playoff team are gone and 2011 All-Star Angel McCoughtry watched the first quarter from the bench.
Atlanta creeped out to a 26-23 lead in the first quarter behind Erika de Souza’s 9 points - 5 rebounds and Tiffany Hayes’ 7 points. Hayes, a rookie out of UCONN, started in place of McCoughtry and chipped in 12 points on 4-11 shooting.
The Lynx took over the lead with 1:24 remaining in the half on a jumper from Seimone Augustus. Augustus scored 12 of her 23 points in the first half to give Minnesota a 43-42 lead at the break.
Sancho Lyttle’s three evened the game for Atlanta before Rebekkah Brunson re-emerged. Brunson had kept pace with Augustus keeping the Lynx in the game early with 10 points in the first half but waited a full 5 minutes before finding twine again.
Over the next two minutes the veteran out of Georgetown scored 7 points and played tough defense in the paint. Minnesota closed out the third extending the lead to 7 on Augustus’ 20th point.
The lead ballooned to as high as 13 and stayed there through most of the final quarter.
Atlanta hurt itself not being able to take advantage of the Lynx scoring drought in the middle of the quarter. Minnesota went a full five and a half minutes without a basket of any kind while Atlanta managed just three free throws.
Local favorite Maya Moore brought the crowd to its feet with a sweeping swat of Lindsey Harding’s attempted layup.
Atlanta will attempt to get back on the winning track on Tuesday when the Tulsa Shock visit Philips Arena. Tulsa has dropped both the pre-season and first regular season game to the Dream.
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