Atlanta Holds Off Minnesota

Lynx Postgame Audio
Jennifer Gillom

Renee Montgomery

Roneeka Hodges

Chamique Holdsclaw missed two seasons in the WNBA. The one-time perennial WNBA All Star’s comeback this season has been solid if not spectacular – 13.9 points, 2.1 steals per game.

Holdsclaw reminded everyone why she was called the WNBA’s Michael Jordan on Wednesday afternoon.

With Atlanta clinging to a four-point lead, it was Holdsclaw who the team turned to put away Minnesota. She finished with 28 points – eight points and a couple of “how did she do that” shots late in the fourth quarter – to lead the Dream to a 91-77 win over the Lynx at the Target Center.

“That girl was on a mission,” coach Jen Gillom said. “She played with a playoff mentality tonight. It’s just one of those nights where she had a great game and you do whatever you can to try and contain her. But when she’s having those nights, you have to eliminate everyone else and we didn’t do that.”

Atlanta finished on an 18-5 spurt to put Minnesota away once and for all after fighting the team off all game.

The Lynx struggled to keep up from the very beginning, allowing Atlanta to shoot better than 60 percent – and close to 70 percent – for much of the first half. The Dream took as big as a 14-point lead.

It was a concerning start for Minnesota as the missed shots turned into a lack of focus on the defensive end. The Lynx continued to struggle to play at the same intensity as their opponent, like they had in recent losses to Sacramento and San Antonio.

“We need to stay focused,” said Roneeka Hodges, who finished with 12 points but hit only one of her seven 3-point attempts. “Once we win one game, we can’t get too high or we can’t get too low. We just need to try to get a good streak going. I think that we’re playing our type of basketball in spots. I think once we get consistent with it, we’re going to be a difficult team to deal with.”

Nicky Anosike led the team with 22 points and Charde Houston had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Minnesota cut the lead to one point in the middle of the fourth quarter when Candice Wiggins got a good bounce off a jump ball and hit a layup, but the team could never get over the hump and struggled from that point forward.

“I thought Atlanta came and played with a sense or urgency and we did not,” Gillom said. “I think they came to play and we didn’t come out and play like the team I know we’re capable of playing. I think we had more energy on the offensive end than on the defensive end and that has to change and will change.”

The Dream had the touch from the field, shooting 53.1 percent from the floor and seven of nine from beyond the arc. The Lynx could not keep up the blistering pace as they struggled shooting 35.6 percent for the game – 22.9 percent for the second half – and five of 24 on 3-pointers.

Minnesota played back and forth with Atlanta, as the team constantly fell behind but had the determination to come back. The Lynx erased a 14-point second-quarter deficit with a 16-6 run to end the half and eliminated a quick spurt from the Dream to being the second half and cut the lead to two late.

But the Dream quashed every run, getting a three from Holdsclaw and a layup from Angel McCoughtry in the final 30 seconds of the quarter to go back up seven.

Minnesota had the fight to make it a close game, but never took the lead in the second half.

“It seems that as bad as we’ll play for a certain amount of time, we’ll still be in the game and still have a chance,” Renee Montgomery said. “When we get to that point, we have to make sure that we seize the opportunity and forget about what happened before that moment.”

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