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A lot of players watch the ball's arc when they shoot. Not Kayla McBride. She's a rim watcher. She shoots and watches the rim. On Sunday night at Atlanta, over and over, she saw the ball hitting nothing but net.

"It felt good when the first shot went down," McBride said as the Lynx, having dispatched the Atlanta Dream 92-79, were about to head back to Minnesota 4-1 after winning games on back-to-back days. "I was just feeling it. I was enjoying it."

McBride scored 31 points, her Lynx high. She made her first nine field-goal tries, her first six three-point attempts and all five free throws. She finished the game 10-for-12 from the field overall and 6-for-7 from three-point territory, becoming the first player in WNBA history to score at least 30 points while shooting 80% from the field (making at least six threes) and 100% on free throws (minimum five).

So what is a player like Napheesa Collier thinking as she's putting up 20 points and getting eight rebounds, seven assists and three blocks?

Pass McBride the ball.

"It was crazy," Collier said, turning to McBride. "Swish, swish, swish. You weren't even hitting rim. It was like, 'We need to get you to 30.' It was so much fun. [Going] 10-for-12 is a crazy stat."

Center Alanna Smith scored 17 points and added five assists and four rebounds. She was 3-for-6 from long distance, bringing her season total to 11-for-17 on threes.

The day after the Lynx went 14-for-28 on threes while beating visiting New York, they went 13-for-29 in playing their third game in four days. Before this season, the Lynx had never played a game in which four players hit multiple three-pointers. Now they've done it twice in a row. And they are in second place in the WNBA.

"We had them pretty stretched out," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "And KMac did the most damage."

For all of that, what won Sunday's game was defense.

After a racehorse first half that ended with the Lynx up 51-47, the Lynx took hold of the game with a 26-12 third quarter in which they shot 8-for-13,

getting 10 points from Collier and nine from McBride, while holding Atlanta (2-2) to 4-for-16 shooting, stretching that four-point lead to 18.

The Dream scored 22 points in the paint in the first half, eight in the second.

"We really locked in on that," Reeve said. "We had to find our way defensively. We couldn't keep trading baskets. And we knew defense was going to be the path."

But not the only one. The Lynx showed why they are the best defensive team in the league so far this season. But they also showed why they are one of the highest-scoring teams. With so many players able to make a three, Collier is finding more room inside.

And the defense? Well, the Lynx have been working on that since the first day of training camp. They've also managed to find some very good chemistry very quickly with a team with a lot of new faces.

"It's such a fun group," Collier said. "I feel like we play every day with joy. And we take such great pride in our defense. This is the best defensive team I've played on."

BOXSCORE: Lynx 92, Atlanta 79

Rhyne Howard led Atlanta with 23 points, Tina Charles added 14 and Cheyenne Parker-Tyus had 10. But Charles and Parker-Tyus combined for just eight points in the second half.

Although defense wins games, offense is the most fun thing to talk about.

McBride was almost perfect. Collier continued her electric start to the season. She is the first player in WNBA history to score at least 115 points, get 50 rebounds and have 25 or more steals and blocks (she has 14 steals and 11 blocks) and 20 assists in any five-game stretch.

"I'm proud of them for sure," Reeve said. "Ask any of them, we started building this in training camp. They believe in each other, play for each other. This group got it right away."

The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.