Kayla McBride recorded 20 points and six assists to help the Minnesota Lynx register a crucial 81-71 victory over the visiting Atlanta Dream on Sunday night.
Moriah Jefferson added 18 points and six assists as the Lynx (13-20) kept their playoff hopes alive. Rachel Banham scored 12 points for Minnesota.
Rhyne Howard and Aari McDonald scored 16 points apiece for the Dream (14-19), who had a two-game winning streak halted. Cheyenne Parker scored 12 points while Maya Caldwell and Naz Hillmon added 10 points apiece for Atlanta.
The result puts five teams within one game in the battle for the last two playoff spots. Atlanta and the Phoenix Mercury are tied for those two berths, the New York Liberty (13-19) are a half-game off the pace and the Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks (13-20) are one game out.
Minnesota's Napheesa Collier scored six points in 21 minutes in her season debut. Collier gave birth in late May.
The Lynx played without Aerial Powers (left knee), while Tiffany Hayes (right ankle) sat out for the Dream.
Minnesota shot 47 percent from the field and made 12 of 26 from 3-point range. Jefferson was 4 of 5 from long range and McBride made 3 of 7.
Atlanta connected on 39.1 percent of its shots and was 7 of 22 from behind the arc.
Howard scored the first basket of the final quarter to bring the Dream within 60-59.
But the Lynx responded with 10 straight points. Collier's three-point play and McBride's 3-pointer capped the splurge and gave Minnesota an 11-point lead with 7:19 left.
Later in the quarter, McBride and Sylvia Fowles scored consecutive baskets to make it 81-66 with 2:46 left, and the Dream never threatened again.
McBride scored 10 first-half points as Minnesota led 41-36 at the break.
McBride's 3-pointer gave the Lynx a nine-point lead in the opening quarter before Atlanta tallied the final five points to trail 20-16.
Collier and Banham opened the second quarter with 3-pointers to give Minnesota a 10-point advantage. The Dream rallied to within three later in the half before the Lynx held the five-point edge at the break.
Minnesota led 55-45 after Jefferson's 3-pointer with 6:07 left in the third quarter. But Atlanta whittled away at the gap and trailed 60-57 entering the final stanza.
--Field Level Media