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Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said so herself after the Lynx had defeated the Atlanta Dream 68-55 on Wednesday night at Target Center, had won their fifth consecutive game, their eighth in nine games, and had ascended to second place in the WNBA.

"Well, as I shared with the team, that was not one for the Louvre, that's for sure," she said. "But it's important to be disappointed with some things but still win the game."

They did that.

Despite scoring 68 points, two more than their previous season low. Despite shooting 35.5%, their lowest percentage of the season.

The best-shooting team in the WNBA went 27-for-76 from the field. The best three-point-shooting team in the league went 7-for-22 — 3-for-18 if your name wasn't Bridget Carleton.

And still, a victory, pushing Minnesota to 12-3 this season.

Because offense can come and go, but defense sticks around.

Atlanta (6-7) shot 28.8%, made just four of 23 three-point tries, turned the ball over 14 times (for 16 Lynx points) and posted the lowest total by a Lynx opponent this season.

"I feel we got lucky," Lynx forward Napheesa Collier said. Battling a shooting slump in recent games, Collier led the Lynx in scoring (16 points) and added eight rebounds and four assists. But she made just six of 17 attempts from the field. "I think we need to come out and be better for our game Saturday."

On a night when the other starters were struggling, Carleton went 5-for-8 overall from the field overall and 4-for-5 on threes, including two late that sealed the win. Add to that key contributions from Natisha Hiedeman and Dorka Juhász — the latter of whom had a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double — off the bench, and the result was another victory.

"When we are having those games, when the shots are falling, while that was happening, you could miss things on defense and still be OK," Reeve said. "Now we have to find out, when that corrects, what is going to be your path?"

And that would be defense. Yes, Atlanta missed a number of makeable shots. Yes, the Dream's path got a lot harder when star Rhyne Howard was lost to an apparent ankle injury in the third quarter.

But the Lynx held the Dream to 25 second-half points.

The Lynx took the lead for good with a 13-0 run that started with the Lynx trailing by a point with 3:11 left in the first quarter.

Collier scored three points in a 7-0 run to end the quarter. Hiedeman had two assists in the run, then she scored twice and had another assist in a 6-0 start to the second quarter that had the Lynx up 12.

The Dream rallied to make it a game but never led again.

BOXSCORE: Lynx 68, Atlanta 55

Collier, who battled Dream forward Tina Charles (14 points) much of the night, believed the team's defensive rebounding was a problem, the offense out of sync too often. Atlanta collected 13 offensive boards but had just 10 second-chance points.

Collier is in a rare shooting slump. She has hit 11 of 34 field-goal tries the past two games and has missed all 12 of her three-point attempts in the past three.

"It makes me want to do other things even more," Collier said. "I know I have a heavy responsibility on my shoulders. When I'm not performing in one area, I have to step it up in other areas. I was frustrated not hitting shots. I hope that changes in the future. But defense is just as valuable."

Collier has been putting extra time working on her shot. That will continue. Eventually the shots will fall.

"Phee is going to be consistent," Reeve said. "She's always going to be there."