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HomeSportsBasketballLynx look to continue strong start against inconsistent Dream

Lynx look to continue strong start against inconsistent Dream

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Entering the 2024 WNBA season, the Minnesota Lynx were a young team, coming off a 19-21 record last year. Now, with just over a third of the campaign in the rearview mirror, the Lynx are in a surprise position: first place in the Western Conference.

The Lynx (11-3), on a four-game winning streak, welcome the Atlanta Dream (6-6) on Wednesday night in Minneapolis.

While Minnesota doesn’t have the star power of the New York Liberty or Las Vegas Aces, it’s a team set for a championship game, led by defense.

The Lynx rose to the top spot in the West, and the June 25 Commissioner’s Cup championship game against the Liberty, by stifling their opponents. Minnesota averages league bests with 10.3 steals and 16.5 forced turnovers per game. It’s part of a formula of consistency and intensity.

“We have the mindset of playing hard throughout the entire 40 minutes and we know we can rely on our defense the entire 40 minutes, through all quarters,” forward Alanna Smith said. “… I think that’s what makes us so great is that we wear people down.”

The Lynx forced 16 turnovers and racked up 11 steals in their fourth straight win, a 90-78 home victory over the Dallas Wings on Monday.

Leading the surprise team of the season is Napheesa Collier. The sixth year forward is averaging 19.8 points amid Minnesota’s win streak, and she leads the Lynx with 21.1 points per game.

However, Collier’s work spans both sides of the court. She is tied for first in the league with 35 total steals, and her 2.5 steals per game rank second.

Atlanta has lacked the consistency shown by Minnesota, splitting its last eight games since losing at home to the Lynx 92-79 on May 26. The Dream make the trip north following Sunday’s 87-74 home victory over the Los Angeles Sparks.

Aerial Powers scored 13 points and added six rebounds and three assists off the bench for Atlanta in the win. Six of the guard’s points were timely, coming in the fourth quarter as the Dream outscored Los Angeles 27-13.

Beyond the stat line, Powers’ intensity in games spreads to teammates, like former league MVP Tina Charles.

“AP is very special,” Charles said. “I think this organization is very fortunate to have her and what she’s able to do on and off the court.”

–Field Level Media

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