The Atlanta Dream attempt to move closer to securing a playoff spot when they battle the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday night at Minneapolis.
The Dream (14-18) have won their last two games and entered Saturday in seventh place with four games remaining. However, four teams trail them by two or fewer games, and one of those teams is the Lynx (12-20).
Atlanta strengthened its playoff position on Friday when Cheyenne Parker scored on a layup with 0.3 seconds left to deliver a big 88-86 home victory over the Los Angeles Sparks.
“They trusted me to have the ball for a last-second shot and I was locked in to get the bucket,” Parker said afterward.
Parker scored 15 points but rookie star Rhyne Howard fueled the win with 28 points. It is her 10th performance of at least 20 points this season and fifth in the past seven games.
Howard was impressed with the competitiveness her team showed down the stretch against Los Angeles.
“We just know that when we play hard, we can beat anybody we want,” Howard said. “Just come out and work and never give up. That’s what we try to do and we try to be the hardest-working and toughest team.”
Minnesota has lost four of its last six contests and can’t afford another setback.
The Lynx didn’t play well Wednesday as they trailed by as many as 29 points during an 89-77 road loss against the Seattle Storm. Their starting five was outscored 79-38 by the Storm’s starting unit.
“We need to start the game better,” Minnesota’s Nikolina Milic said afterward, according to the Star-Tribune. “We were off as a team. No explanation. We just played bad as a team. We need to turn the page, go back home and try to be better.”
Milic scored a team-best 13 points and veteran Sylvia Fowles added 12 in a contest the Lynx trailed 56-32 at the break.
“We played one of our worst games so far,” Milic said.
The teams split two meetings earlier this season. The Dream notched an 84-76 home win on June 1 behind Howard’s 22 points, while Aerial Powers scored 25 points as the Lynx recorded a 92-85 road victory on July 28.
–Field Level Media