The Atlanta Dream (5-8) fell 87-85 to the Minnesota Lynx (6-7) on Wednesday night at Gateway Center Arena in College Park. The Dream blew an 18-point lead to the Lynx as both teams are desperately trying to get back to .500 before the Olympic break on July 15th.
Atlanta and Minnesota were able to drive to the lane with ease. They traded buckets until midway through the first when Atlanta found a spark on offense. Chennedy Carter and Courtney Williams got to work and Minnesota could not find an answer. Carter had her way in the post while Williams knocked down fade-away jumpers with ease. Carter did not play in the loss against the Lynx earlier this month. She made her presence felt tonight. The Dreams’ perimeter defense stood tall and didn’t allow the Lynx to get any easy buckets. Aari McDonald came off the bench for the Dream and knocked down to clutch three-pointers to put the Dream up 28-16 at the end of the first quarter.

This pattern continued throughout the game as the Lynx dug themselves in a hole they could not escape. They looked completely helpless trying to defend the paint. Minnesota’s starting bigs Napheesa Collier and Sylvia Fowles got lost in their defensive rotations several times and Atlanta capitalized. Cheyenne Parker and Odyssey Sims unlocked their layup packages and put up a highlight reel against Collier and Fowles.

The Lynx struggled even more on offense as they had trouble finishing at the rim on open looks. Not only that, but their half-court sets were non-existent. A lot of their plays consisted of guards Kayla McBride and Layshia Claredon dribbling around until the shot clock ran down. This resulted in a lot of coerced shots and lazy attempts at points. Damiris Dantas was able to knock down a clutch three for the Lynx to stop the bleeding before the half. This gave the Lynx momentum as they began to draw several fouls down low and knocked down free throws to keep them in the game. With Elizabeth Williams in foul trouble, the Lynx were able to battle back within six before the half.

The Dream’s defense relaxed in the second half and the Lynx were able to get into their offense easier. The two teams kept it close throughout the third and entered the fourth quarter 76-68 in favor of Atlanta. McBride and the Lynx forced a few turnovers in the fourth to keep the hope alive for them. Damiris Dantis knocked down a three to put the Lynx within midway through the fourth. She followed up with another one from behind the arc to tie the game 81-81 with a little over three minutes remaining. The Dream came up short on two offensive possessions and the momentum stayed with the Lynx late.

Sylvia Fowles made two free throws after a foul on Chennedy Parker to put the Lynx up 83-81. Courtney Willimas was fouled by McBride on a made layup attempt to tie the game 83-83 after missing the and-one free throw attempt. Kayla McBride then converted off a steal on the following play to put the Lynx up 85-83 with a minute and a half remaining. Elizabeth Willimas tied the game 85-85 at the free-throw line after a foul on Sylvia Fowles. McBride was then able to knock down a quick two on an inbound to put the Lynx back up 87-85 with a minute remaining. The Dream wasn’t not able to come up with any more points and fall 0-2 to the Lynx on the season.

Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles (34) and Atlanta Dream forward Cheyenne Parker (32) battle for a rebound during the first half of their WNBA playoff game Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in College Park, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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