The Minnesota Lynx continue to show they are really clicking on all cylinders, as they easily defeated the Atlanta Dream. The final margin doesn’t reflect how out of hand this game truly was.
The Atlanta Dream were looking to get their first win since the All-Star break Wednesday night, on the road against the Minnesota Lynx.
The Lynx got on the board first as newcomer Sylvia Fowles made a driving layup, and was fouled by Damiris Dantas. Dantas, who was playing against her ex-teammates for the first time since being a part of a three-team trade on Monday that sent her to Atlanta, responded with two points of her own.
“She got an and-one to start the game, I mean what bigger way to set the tone finishing at the rim with contact. That’s just what she provides for us.” said Lynx Guard Maya Moore, when asked about new teammate Fowles.
Neither team would score again for another minute and a half when guard Lindsay Whalen, who finished the night with 15 points, would score back to back. Atlanta took a full timeout.
After the timeout, Minnesota kicked it into high gear and never looked back.
Maya Moore scored her first points of the game with a 12-foot jumper to put the Lynx up 8-2. Dantas answered again with a layup, followed by another basket by Fowles, who finished the night with 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
Dantas tried to pick up the slack after teammate Angel McCoughtry picked up two early fouls, which would take her out of the game. However, with Atlanta turning the ball over nine times, and Moore leading Minnesota on a 10-2 run, they would go into the second quarter down 9-26.
“I think that was a great first quarter for us where we’d come out and were really on our game plan. I thought we were terrific defensively.” Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve expressed.
McCoughtry opened up the second quarter with a 21-foot jumper. The teams traded shots with Atlanta having the slight advantage of 3-2, before Minnesota called a full timeout.
Minnesota’s Tricia Liston got on the board first for the Lynx after the timeout, and set the tone for the rest of the quarter. The Lynx were playing tough at both ends of the court, holding the Dream to just 38% shooting at this point.
Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson made both free throws after being fouled by Dream forward Aneika Henry. Dream teammates Reshanda Gray, who was also returning for the first time since being traded, and guard Tiffany Hayes, followed up with two more baskets bringing the deficit to nine at 25-34.
Following another full timeout Moore and Liston went for a combined eight points, seven of which came from the free-throw line. Whalen finished out the quarter with a driving layup, taking Minnesota into the half up 47-29.
Atlanta came out with a little more energy in the second half as guard Sydney Carter scored first. However, the damage had already been done, and Atlanta could not recover.
Although The Dream would outscore the Lynx 5-3, they were allowing too many second chances on defense. Including, a moment around the 7:30 mark when Moore missed a shot and got three chances after that to score.
“They’re a team that really committed to their offense; they execute their offense well… we just didn’t make it difficult for them tonight.” Dream Head Coach Michael Cooper admitted.
Whalen made one of four technical free shots for the night after a defensive three-second violation was called on Atlanta. McCoughtry responded with two for the Dream, while Lynx Asjha Jones and Renee Montgomery followed with two of their own.
Jones would score twice again along with Moore to give Minnesota their highest lead of the night at 20.
Both teams would go for a combined four points to finish the quarter. Atlanta went into the last quarter of the game down 48-67, despite only being outscored 20-19 by Minnesota in the third.
Minnesota began the fourth quarter with back to back fouls by Montgomery then Liston, resulting in Dream guard Matee Ajavon gaining two points at the line. Ajavon followed up with another basket, as Atlanta got their second delay of game and fourth technical foul of the night.
Again, Whalen made the technical, and scored twice after. Both teams were spotty to follow with Minnesota missing their next three shot attempts, and Atlanta scoring only twice bringing it to 55-71 before The Lynx took a full timeout.
Carter and Hayes, who was the only Atlanta player in double figures at 15, tried to keep it alive going for 9-9 to finish out the game, but they got hot too late.
Maya Moore had 21 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals, as she is inching in on Diana Taurasi’s record of 12 consecutive games with 20 or more points. This was Moore’s tenth.