On Friday, the Lynx and the Atlanta Dream looked like two WNBA teams going in different directions.
The Lynx, who have not made the WNBA playoffs since 2004, beat the Dream 96-85 at Target Center to go 4-1 on the young season. Atlanta fell to 1-4. This was a team that won the Eastern Conference title last season.
They are going to meet again at 2 p.m. Sunday (tape delay on FSN at 5 p.m.) in Atlanta.
Looking back to Friday's game, the difference was the third quarter. The Lynx used a 13-0 run to take a big lead they never relinquished.
"It was terrible," said Dream forward Angel McCoughtry, who scored 27 points in the loss. "Our color is blue. Their color is white and we passed it to white and that's when they made their run. Teams aren't beating us, we're beating ourselves -- and it's really frustrating."
The Dream, especially McCoughtry were unhappy with the referees, too. She missed about 10 minutes in the first three quarters because of foul trouble. She especially argued one foul call against her in the third quarter. She played 30 minutes, 38 seconds.
"Everybody can see the calls,"McCoughtry said. "This is the WNBA and we're supposed to entertain. ans like to see blocked sots. They want to see us jump in the air and grab rebounds. And, if we can't do that, it's not entertainment. They have to call it as if they were calling an NBA game. They let them jump in the air and do things, so let us."
At one time in the first half, the referees had called seven fouls on the Dream, none on the Lynx. And Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors kept complaining.
It evened out. The Dream finished with 24 and nobody fouled out although McCoughtry had five. The Lynx were called for 22 fouls.
Atlanta was 17x26 on free throws, the Lynx 23x29.
"It's unfortunate that there were so many foulds called on her," Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said, "when, in truth, she probably doesn't get the benefit of getting bumped. ... But it is what it is and we have to play through it."
McCoughtry said there is a big difference between the two teams from last year. "They have all their players back and healthy and added Maya," she said. "They are going to be a goood team. This team has battled to get to the playoffs for a long time and they deserve to be there."
But McCoughtry still has faith in her team, too. "We just need to settle down and focus from start to finish," she said. "We'll have out sixth man [Sunday], which is our crowd. Out adjustments will be that we can't turn the ball over. We just have to regroup, get back on track. We still have time to get a good record and make the playoffs."
"The No. 1 things is we've been injured all year," Meadors said of Atlanta's poor start. "We finally got Izzy [Iziane Castro Marques] back and Sancho Lyttle has been out and now is playing in the European Championship[s] -- she left Wednesday and here we are, having to adjust again.
"And we have another player playing for Belarus and she won't join us until July. We've had so many adjustments that's we've had to make an lose your rhythm and you're unsure of a lot of things. We're trying to get a few wins here before we get whole again in July."
In the Lynx's decisive 13-0 run, the Dream committed three turnovers, missed three shots and committed two fouls.
The Lynx impressed Meadors. "They're a geat team," she said. "[Fri]day's game was a battle between two really good teams that went after each other. The Lynx went on that run and that was because of our turnovers. And then we didn't make free throws and they did. That was the name of the game."
* The Lynx are outscoring opponents by an average of 9.8 points in the first half.
* Seimone Augustus has made all 16 of her free throw attempts this season and has made 25 in a row going back to last season..