The Atlanta Dream have been rolling without Sancho Lyttle, and they may be even more dangerous with one of the league's best interior threats potentially returning.
The Minnesota Lynx hope Seimone Augustus won't have to miss any time as they seek a seventh straight victory in a battle of the WNBA's two best teams Tuesday night in Minneapolis.
Lyttle was averaging 15.4 points and 9.0 rebounds through five games before leaving to play for Spain's national team. Atlanta (10-1) hasn't skipped a beat without her, though, winning its last six contests, and it could get Lyttle back Tuesday.
Tiffany Hayes scored a game-high 19 points off the bench and Angel McCoughtry added 15 and nine assists as the Dream defeated San Antonio 93-67 on June 30.
"It's special to be 10-1,'' Hayes said. "For us, it's all about effort. Every win is a team win."
McCoughtry has been one of the major reasons for the team's current surge. She's averaging 20.2 points to rank second in the league, and leads the WNBA with 3.7 steals per contest.
Atlanta is holding opponents to a league-low 69.5 points per game and averaging 12.7 steals.
"I'm enjoying our success and staying in the moment,'' McCoughtry said. "It's a great feeling.''
The Dream have had eight days off heading into a stretch of four straight road games, though McCoughtry doesn't believe the long layoff will affect the team's momentum.
"Everybody can use a break,'' McCoughtry said. "Our bodies need it. It's a long season.''
Minnesota, though, is hoping Augustus doesn't need any time to rest a sprained left ankle she suffered in Sunday's 91-59 rout of Phoenix, which boosted the Lynx to 6-0 at home. She left with 7:01 remaining in the second quarter and did not return, though X-rays were negative.
Augustus, averaging 15.5 points, was scheduled to have an MRI on Monday to determine her status for this contest, but Minnesota has others waiting to step up if she can't go.
The Lynx (8-3) got a game-high 23 points from Maya Moore to help make up for the loss of Augustus, and Monica Wright, who confirmed her engagement to Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant after the game, scored a season-best 17 points off the bench.
"Coming out of the half we knew we were going to have to collectively step up and continue to bring the energy and aggression Seimone had brought,'' Moore said. "We're confident (Seimone will) make her return. In the meantime we're going to continue to do our best to get wins.''
Though the high-scoring effort was a positive after Minnesota suffered a 96-66 loss to Los Angeles in its previous contest, coach Cheryl Reeve was more impressed with her team's defensive performance.
The Lynx allowed their fewest points of the season and held Diana Taurasi, the WNBA's leading scorer, to just four points.
"Our commitment to the defensive game plan was really fun to watch and really difficult to play against,'' Reeve said.
Minnesota has won the last six meetings with Atlanta, including a three-game sweep in the 2011 WNBA finals.