When the Lynx traveled to Atlanta on July 1, the Dream crushed Minnesota 76-58. The rematch on Wednesday at Target Center before an announced crowd of 12,311 bore little resemblance to that rout.
After 16 lead changes, 11 in the fourth quarter, the Lynx edged Atlanta 83-81 on Rebekkah Brunson's layup with 7.2 seconds left. The Dream (14-6) had won five of its past six games and remains atop the Eastern Conference.
Brunson scored all nine of her points in the second half.
"I didn't really get frustrated," said the 6-3 forward who averages 13.6 points. "I thank Coach [Cheryl Reeve] for keeping me out there and thank Nicky [Anosike] for making that great pass."
Anosike spotted her teammate cutting to the hoop for the winning basket: "I knew I had to deliver the ball to her."
Anosike delivered throughout the game as the Lynx (7-11) got their first victory over a team with a winning record at the All-Star break. Anosike, a 6-3, third-year center, tied a season-high with 16 points and had three assists and three steals.
"We were so embarrassed when we lost down there," said Anosike, who was 1-for-11 from the field at Atlanta. "We all had to go back and look in the mirror after that game and try and figure out what we needed to do."
With the Dream ahead 81-79, Anosike made one of the biggest plays with 38.9 seconds left. She stole a pass intended for 6-5 center Erika de Souza and drew a foul. Anosike's two free throws -- she was 8-for-9 at the foul line -- tied the score.
"I knew that was a crucial possession," Anosike said. "I was either going to get the ball or they were going to score. We fought hard the whole game, and we deserved that win."
Seimone Augustus led the Lynx with 22 points. Lindsay Whalen had 17 points plus seven assists. Atlanta also had three big scorers: Angel McCoughtry had 25 points, Izaine Castro Marques 20 and De Souza 18. But De Souza, after her 20th rebound, missed a short jumper at the game-ending buzzer.
The Lynx have won five of their past seven games, including the first two games of a six-game homestand. The latest victory, coupled with losses by San Antonio and Phoenix, vaulted Minnesota from fourth to second place in the Western Conference.
"We've got to keep it going; you can't get comfortable," Anosike said. "We've only scratched the surface of earning respect."
Next up for the Lynx, on Saturday, is Seattle, the first-place team in the West.