The third quarter was the worst quarter for the Atlanta Dream on Sunday.

Atlanta hung with the Lynx in the first half, but Minnesota outscored the Dream 26-12 in the third quarter en route to a 92-79 win at Gateway Center Arena.

Minnesota improves to 4-1 -- the best record in the Western Conference -- and is the second best team in the WNBA behind the undefeated Connecticut Sun (5-0). Atlanta (2-2) is third in the Eastern Conference and in sixth place in the league-wide standings.

“Minnesota is a really good team,” Dream coach Tanisha Wright said. “I thought their connectivity both offensively and defensively is something that we’re striving to get to. We need to be able to get to that level of connectivity as a unit out there. I thought our ball screen defense was very poor today. We didn’t execute. As a result they were able to pick us apart all night. We have to hit the drawing board and get better and use every opportunity we have to get better.”

Minnesota outscored Atlanta 28-25 in the first quarter and 23-22 in the second quarter to take a slim 51-47 lead at halftime.

The Lynx came out hot to start the second half with an initial 10-4 run that ballooned into a 26-12 quarter advantage. Minnesota shot 61.5% compared to Atlanta’s 25% shooting mark.

“We went into half and we showed them what was happening on film,” Wright said. “It wasn’t that they (couldn’t) see what was happening. We showed them exactly what was happening. ‘This is why we’re not executing. This is why we’re not doing it right.’ We just didn’t have the focus to get it done to start the third quarter. They built the lead and once you’re exerting that much energy to try to get back, it’s a lot of energy.”

Veteran Lynx guard Kayla McBride played a large role in the win. McBride hit nine of her first nine field goals -- including six 3-pointers -- and she finished the night 10 of 12 from a game-game 31 points.

“I thought we were soft to start on (McBride),” Wright said. “(When) somebody like McBride makes her first shot and sees something go through -- (McBride) has been a great shooter in this league for a long time -- you can’t start off soft on those players. You have to make those players work for everything that they’re gonna get.”

Wright did see some positives, especially from Tina Charles and Rhyne Howard. Howard scored a team-high 23 points with five rebounds while Charles scored 14 points with four boards. Atlanta also won the rebounding battle 32-31.

“I thought in the first quarter we came out a little bit better than we have been,” Wright said. “I was proud of that. I thought Rhyne and Tina both got going and kept us afloat. I thought that we changed our ball screen defense later in the third quarter and did a good job of that as well. We out-rebounded them. That’s something that’s always a focus of ours.”

Each team committed 10 turnovers. Atlanta scored 13 points off turnovers while Minnesota scored 14.

“We didn’t turn the ball over a ton,” Wright said. “That’s something that’s been plaguing us for the last two years but we’re doing a much better job of that over this year.”

Howard and the Dream shot 45.6% from the field and 27.3% from long range. Minnesota shot 50% as a team and 44.8% from 3-point range.

“I think that our shots compared to their shots were a lot tougher,” Howard said. “They made us work and that’s a good team so credit to them.

Napheesa Collier has recent success against the Dream. In last year’s second regular-season matchup between the Lynx and the Dream, Collier scored 27 points and tallied 17 rebounds. Sunday, sflirted with a triple-double as she tallied 20 points with eight rebounds and seven assists.

“This team is good and we know that a lot of their stuff runs through (Collier),” Atlanta’s Naz Hillmon said of the Lynx. “She’s a great player and did her job. We just have to figure out ways to stop those players once they get hot.”

The Dream travel to Washington and will face the Mystics on Wednesday before returning home Friday for a matchup with the Las Vegas Aces.