Balanced Lynx roll to wire-to-wire win over Dream

The Minnesota Lynx continue to put a horrendous start to the season behind them.

Kayla McBride scored a season-high 19 points to lead five Minnesota scorers in double figures and the Lynx won their third straight game by beating Atlanta 100-80 Sunday.

Crystal Dangerfield scored 17 points off the bench, Sylvia Fowles battled foul trouble but still finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and tied a career high with five steals.

“I just thought Syl was incredible patrolling the paint,” said coach Cheryl Reeve.

Napheesa Collier scored 14 points to go with six assists and six rebounds and Rachel Banham scored a season-high 13 points off the bench, making all five shots, including a trio of 3-pointers.

Could the 400th win in franchise history be another game that shows the Lynx (3-4) what they can do after an 0-4 start to the season that bottomed out in a May 28 loss in Seattle where it trailed by 30 points early in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve gotten in to a good offensive rhythm and then we’re really focused on what our foundation is going to be on defense and then making that turn into our offense and get easy buckets,” Dangerfield said.

Added Collier: “There’s things we still want to work on obviously, but it’s really early in the season, so if we can continue to build on what we did tonight I think we’re going to be OK.”

The Lynx set season highs with 26 assists, 12 steals, free throws made and attempted (19-35) and 3-point percentage (44%). Its 38 points from the bench is also a season best.​
McBride said it was a team effort with everyone moving better, and point guards Layshia Clarendon, Dangerfield and Banham getting the ball where it was needed.

“We wanted to make them have multiple efforts on the defensive end like they do to us and I think we did a good job of that tonight.”

Minnesota had a 21-3 advantage in points off turnovers in the opening half and scored a season-high 52 points in opening a 14-point lead.

“We had lanes crowded. This is a team that lives in the paint … the moments that we got easier against we were letting them in the paint,” Reeve said. “The moments we were locked in the lanes were hard to find. Our help and help recovery with a sense of urgency sometimes helping the helper and just scrambling around I thought that was really good for us. …

We got more than our 20 deflections that we shoot for.”

Minnesota, which last reached the century mark in points Sept. 12, 2017, scored the game’s first 13 points, allowed Atlanta to get within six in the third quarter, before finishing with a flurry, going 8 of 14 from the field.

The Lynx shot 51.5 percent from the floor after making 52.6 percent of its shots in Friday’s 86-84 win over the Dream. It’s the first time Atlanta allowed 50 percent plus this season.
Minnesota made a season-high 11 shots from outside the arc on 25 attempts.

Tiffany Hayes led Atlanta (4-4) with 21 points.

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