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Lynx help their playoff hopes by beating Dream

Sep 29, 2020; Bradenton, Florida, USA; A game ball waits on a sanitation cart during game 5 of the WNBA semifinals between the Connecticut Suns and the Las Vegas Aces at IMG Academy. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Aerial Powers made jumpers on three straight possessions in the fourth quarter and finished with 25 points Thursday to lead the Minnesota Lynx to a 92-85 victory over the host Atlanta Dream in a pivotal game for both teams in the WNBA playoff picture.

The Dream (12-17) were in the WNBA’s last playoff spot, No. 8, heading into the game. The Lynx (11-19) are now 1 1/2 games behind the Dream but the Phoenix Mercury (12-16 entering Thursday) and New York Liberty (12-17) are also in contention.

Minnesota ended a three-game losing streak while the Dream have now lost three consecutive games.

Minnesota’s Sylvia Fowles had 12 points and 14 rebounds and Moriah Jefferson added 14 points and seven assists.

Atlanta was led by Tiffany Hayes’ 24 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter before she fouled out. Rookie Rhyne Howard finished with 18 points and Cheyenne Parker had 16.

After Minnesota took a 69-49 lead with 8:19 remaining, Hayes scored seven unanswered points to spark a rally for the Dream.

Atlanta cut the lead to 73-67 with 5:35 remaining, when Hayes sank a 3-pointer and made one of two free throws on the next possession.

Powers answered by making consecutive shots, including a 3-pointer, in Minnesota’s next three possessions to build the lead to 80-67 with 4:03 left.

Following Naz Hillmon’s layup with 1:12 remaining to cut the lead to 84-77, Powers answered with two free throws.

Aari McDonald made three free throws after getting fouled on a 3-point attempt with 22.6 seconds left to trim the lead to 89-83.

Kayla McBride, who finished 11 points, made two free throws on the ensuing possession to seal the win.

Minnesota built a 49-29 lead at halftime by making 65.6 percent of its field-goal attempts, led by Powers, Fowles, Jefferson and Bridget Carleton combining for 36 points on 15-of-22 shooting from the field.

The Lynx shot 55.6 percent for the game, including 8 of 15 shots from beyond the arc.

The Dream shot 38.6 percent from the field with a 5-of-17 performance from 3-point range.

Atlanta played without Monique Billings (ankle), Nia Coffey (knee) and AD Durr (hip).

–Field Level Media