ATLANTA – Sylvia Fowles had another monster performance. Maya Moore again shined in her hometown. And Seimone Augustus did something she has never done in her WNBA career.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve acknowledged all their accomplishments following her team’s latest victory, 90-80 over the Atlanta Dream on Friday night at McCamish Pavilion, but she didn’t stop there.
“I thought our second group had really good moments,” Reeve said. “Alexis Jones, who doesn’t see very many minutes, helped us get that separation in the fourth quarter that we needed.”
Jones only played 4 minutes, 3 seconds, but she and fellow reserve Natasha Howard helped give the Lynx some room late in the third quarter and early in the fourth on the way to their fifth consecutive victory.
With 6.1 seconds left in the third quarter and the shot clock winding down, Howard made a layup off a pass from Jones, giving the Lynx a 71-59 lead.
Jones then made the first basket of the fourth quarter, a pullup jumper 31 seconds in, before Howard followed with two layups, the second off an assist from Jones, who pulled down two rebounds at the other end. The spurt resulted in a 77-59 Lynx lead, and Atlanta never got within single digits the rest of the way.
The efforts of the bench backed another impressive effort by the starters. Fowles had 29 points on 11-for-15 shooting, along with eight rebounds and three blocks. Moore added 17 points on 6-for-12 shooting, and Augustus scored 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting and added a career-high 10 assists, giving her the second double-double of her long career.
“I thought our team defense, effort and execution was much better than it has been this season,” said Moore, who went to Collins Hill High School at nearby Suwanee, Ga. “We’re taking steps forward, from being aware and connected. We played off our defense and pushed in transitions.”
The Lynx had 30 assists on 37 field goals, shot 56.1 percent from the floor and improved to 18-2, tying the 2000 Houston Comets and 2010 Seattle Storm for the second-best start in WNBA history after 20 games. The 2001 Los Angeles Sparks went 19-1.
The Lynx also beat Atlanta for the seventh consecutive meeting and are 15-5 all-time vs. the Dream.
“They play great at home, and their defense is tremendous,” Reeve said. “Our practice yesterday and our preparation today was on point. That carried over from practice into the game. Sylvia gave us a presence on the interior.”
Fowles had her highest-scoring game since June 11 as the Lynx outscored the Dream 42-28 in the paint. In all five games in their five-game winning streak, the Lynx have held their opponent to below 30 points in the paint. They have averaged 38.0 points in the paint during that stretch, compared to 26.0 for their opponents.
“Coach tells me to go out there and play my game,” Fowles said. “She doesn’t put any pressure on me and just wants me to go out there and do my best. She doesn’t push me to do things that I can’t do or that make me uncomfortable. That’s part of the reason why I’m so successful this season.”
Tiffany Hayes scored 25 points to lead Atlanta, which plays the Lynx three times in a 12-day span.
• The Lynx will play host to the second annual We Are Women Night on Sunday, before facing Seattle at Xcel Energy Center. The night includes a series of events to celebrate the empowerment of females throughout Minnesota.