On Friday night, the Lynx’s all-time leading scorer can help the top team in the WNBA set or tie two team records in this visit by the Dream.
Minnesota goes for a 10th straight victory and 15th home win while Atlanta tries to continue its strong play under new coach Fred Williams.
Augustus scored 36 points to help Minnesota take a 2-0 lead in the WNBA finals with a 101-95 home victory Oct. 5. The Lynx (22-4), who completed the sweep two days later in Atlanta, are well on their way to securing the top spot in the 2012 Western Conference playoffs as they gear up for a run at a repeat.
Minnesota leads second-place Los Angeles by four games following an 88-77 victory over the Sparks on Tuesday. Augustus hit a career-high six 3-pointers and finished with 23 points to break Katie Smith’s team mark of 3,605.
“We needed (Augustus’ 3s),” coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Her ability to shake a defender is just really impressive. I don’t think the Timberwolves would mind having her.”
The same could be said of Maya Moore, who matched Augustus’ point total and set a career high with seven steals.
“She was like Catwoman,” Augustus said. “She was here, she was there - she did an awesome job.”
Moore could spend much of Friday matched up with U.S. Olympic teammate Angel McCoughtry, who scored 14 points in Atlanta’s 84-74 loss to Minnesota on Aug. 25.
McCoughtry came off the bench in that game after missing the previous two for personal reasons. The former rookie of the year was suspended for two games following the Minnesota game for violating an unspecified team rule, but she appears to be back on track with 39 points in the last two contests.
She scored 15 off the bench in a 71-64 home win over Indiana on Wednesday.
“I was so excited,” McCoughtry said. “It felt so good to be back on the floor. I’ll never take basketball for granted again.”
If that’s the case, the Dream could make a late push up the East standings. Atlanta (15-13) is 3-1 since Williams took over for the fired Marynell Meadors and trails the second-place Fever by three games.
The Dream, though, face a Lynx squad that will be trying to match the longest single-season winning streak in team history. Minnesota established a league mark with its 10-0 start this season.
The Lynx, who finish with six of seven on the road following this contest, can also set a team record for home victories Friday. They’ve won seven straight against the Dream, including postseason.
Including the two losses in the 2011 finals, Atlanta has dropped four straight at Minnesota. McCoughtry broke her own finals scoring record with 38 points Oct. 5.
Augustus scored 23 points, Rebekkah Brunson had 21 and 13 rebounds and Moore added 14 points with 10 boards Aug. 25.