It hasn't necessarily looked pretty, but the Minnesota Lynx appear to be back on track following a rough stretch last month. Their latest winning streak began with a lopsided victory over the Atlanta Dream.
The visiting Lynx look for a season-high fourth consecutive victory Friday night against the Dream.
Minnesota (9-6) dropped four in a row from June 8-16, but has followed with wins in five of the next six. The Lynx's current three-game winning run began with an 85-68 home rout of Atlanta (4-10) on July 2, thanks to a career-high 24 points from Stephanie Talbot.
However, Minnesota's last two wins have not been as easy. It needed to outscore Connecticut 20-13 in the final quarter to win 74-71 on Saturday and needed Odyssey Sims' go-ahead basket with 6.4 seconds left to overcome the loss of a 13-point lead and beat Chicago 73-72 on the road Wednesday night.
"I'm repeating myself in saying this - we have a will to win and they take pride in the way they play," Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said.
Sims, who finished with 16 points against the Sky, is averaging a team-leading 16.2 points, while fellow star Sylvia Fowles is putting up 14.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per contest for the Lynx. Fowles, who had 10 points and 12 rebounds against Chicago, has 156 career double-doubles - one short of Lisa Leslie's WNBA record.
The focus for Minnesota now shifts to Atlanta, which might be a more confident group than the one from the last time the teams met. Since that loss to the Lynx, the Dream (4-10) are 2-1 and coming off an impressive 78-75 win over reeling Connecticut on Wednesday.
Tiffany Hayes (13.0 points per game) had 18 points and Elizabeth Williams (11.9 ppg, 6.1 rebounds per game) added 17 with nine boards as Atlanta came out hot, outscoring the Sun 29-18 in the first quarter. Then, held on despite committing 20 turnovers.
"For three games in a row, our game plan - you could just check it off," coach Nicki Collen told the Dream's official website. "That's why it's been two of three wins, and the other one we had a chance to win. We stayed true to the game plan."
Williams had 14 points this month versus Minnesota for the Dream, who shot 4 of 16 from 3-point range and turned the ball over 15 times in that contest. Sims and Fowles each scored 16 points for the Lynx.