St. Paul, MN -- The stakes were a lot higher for one team in Thursday night’s match up between the Minnesota Lynx and Atlanta Dream.
With a playoff spot locked in, Minnesota only needs to stay healthy for the next 13 games of the regular season. Meanwhile, Atlanta is just trying to make their playoff dream a reality.
The Dream needed the win, while for the Lynx, it would be nice.
Minnesota managed to stay consistent offensively throughout the game, which ultimately led to the Lynx 69-54 victory over the Dream.
But the scoring margin between the two wasn’t all that far-flung throughout the game.
For the first half, Atlanta was able to stay neck-and-neck with the league leader, only trailing by five at the half.
That lead wasn’t enough to discourage the Dream.
Things seemed to turn around at the start of the second half. Atlanta exploded out of the locker room for a third quarter surge, outscoring Minnesota 22-11.
But the Lynx were able to chug along during its offensive woes.
In the fourth quarter, Lynx forward Sylvia Fowles showed why she is the second-best shooter in the WNBA right now. She nearly doubled the amount of baskets she scored in the game during the fourth period. Fowles, who had the team's only double-double, recorded 12 points in the final 10 minutes, to add to her game-high 25 points. She also pulled down 12 rebounds, 9 of which were defensive.
Maya Moore contributed 15 points, while grabbing five rebounds for the Lynx.
Minnesota held Atlanta scoreless until there were only four minutes left in the game. At that point, there was little the Dream could do. The Lynx were able to flip-the-script on the Dream, outscoring them 23-2 in the final quarter.
This loss comes after Atlanta acquired center Imani Boyette and forward Tamera Young from Chicago in exchange for forward Jordan Hooper and the Dream's first-round pick in the 2018 draft earlier this week.
Boyette and Young were supposed to add depth to the Dream, but in Thursday’s game neither seemed to help the Dream out. Boyette played nearly 17 minutes, going 0-2 on her field goal attempts. Young only scored three points in her 12 minutes of action.
Guard Layshia Clarendon and forward Brittney Sykes was the Dream's lone bright spot of the game. They scored 18 and 12 points, respectively.
The Lynx (20-2) will travel to Indiana Sunday to face the Fever at 5 p.m. CT.
Meanwhile, the Dream (10-14) look to bounce back on Saturday, when they face the Sky in Chicago at 7 p.m. CT.