Less than two weeks ago, after a strikingly bad performance against the Storm, the Lynx came back from Seattle, sleepless, at 0-4.
Three games later things have changed a bit.
Sunday at Target Center, two days after squeaking past Atlanta in the first of two consecutive games against the Dream, the Lynx practically stormed the court, scoring the first 13 points, never trailing, and getting contributions from everywhere on the roster in a 100-80 victory.
After stumbling out of the gate, the Lynx have now won three straight, a perfect homestand with a Sunday night finale that was a thrilling mix of stout defense, fast breaks and crisp ball movement that resulted in five players scoring in double figures and 38 points coming from the bench.
"I mean, it feels good,'' said Kayla McBride, who hit four of seven three-pointers and scored 19 points. "I don't think anybody really panicked. When adversity hit, we responded. This is our response.''
Loud and clear. Against one of the league's best teams at forcing turnovers, the Lynx cut their turnovers from 20 in Friday's two-point win to just 10. Against a team that lives on the break, it was the Lynx scoring 26 points off 20 Dream turnovers, deflecting 21 passes, outscoring Atlanta 20-6 on the break and scoring 100 points for the first time since the 2017 playoffs.
The weekend held so many individual stories. Such as:
• McBride, who hit nine of 16 threes in the two wins while scoring 36 points;
• Napheesa Collier, who averaged 20 points;
• Sylvia Fowles, a demon on defense who tied her career high with five steals Sunday;
• Rachel Banham, who bounced back from a difficult start to the season to score 13 points off the bench Sunday.
The bottom line is a team that clicked on both ends of the floor; Minnesota is the only team to shoot 50% against Atlanta (4-4) this year, and it has done it twice. The Lynx are starting to find their defense-first identity.
"That's what we're working towards, being hard to play against and finishing plays,'' coach Cheryl Reeve said after the Lynx won for the 400th time in franchise history. "When we do that we become a tough team, when we're playing off our defense.''
The Lynx led by as many as 16 in the first quarter and were never seriously threatened, responding hard after Atlanta cut the lead to six with 1:40 left in the third. Banham hit a 15-footer, Crystal Dangerfield (17 points) got a steal, Bridget Carleton hit a three and the Lynx were on an 11-5 finish to the quarter that pushed the lead back to 12.
It wasn't perfect, of course. Reeve wasn't happy with some offensive lapses. She didn't like being outrebounded and how the Dream turned 13 offensive rebounds into 15 second-chance points.
But this was a strong defensive game. The Lynx starters outscored Atlanta's 62-39, even with Damiris Dantas (back) and Aerial Powers (hamstring) not in the lineup. Tiffany Hayes scored 21, but Courtney Williams had another difficult day, scoring 13.
The Lynx came back from Seattle and have now come back to beat Connecticut in overtime, squeeze past Atlanta on Friday and blow the Dream off the court Sunday.
"We didn't want to feel like we did in Seattle,'' Dangerfield said. "That whole situation was embarrassing. We didn't want to be that kind of team. We wanted to turn that around.''