Written By Mitch Hansen (ZoneCoverage.com)
The Minnesota Lynx came into Saturday as one of the hottest teams in the WNBA and appeared to have fixed their early-season woes.
The Lynx made their way into Chicago having won eight of their last nine games, riding high off beating their biggest rival – the Los Angeles Sparks – in an eventful win last Thursday at Target Center.
The lone loss during that stretch came at the hands of the worst team record-wise in the WNBA, falling to the Indiana Fever, who at the time had just one win on the season.
On Saturday night against the Chicago Sky, another disappointing and somewhat of a playing-down-to-an-opponent type game occurred for Minnesota, falling to Chicago 77-63 at Wintrust Arena.
The Sky came into the game with six wins on the season, sitting among the bottom three teams in the WNBA while having lost three straight.
The Lynx opened the game by taking a narrow lead over the Sky, holding a 21-20 advantage after the first quarter. From that point on, it was all Chicago.
In the second quarter, the Sky took the lead for good, outscoring the Lynx 22-16 in the quarter to jump out to a 42-37 lead going into halftime. In that second frame alone, Chicago shot 60 percent from the field, including making four three’s.
In the second half, the struggles for Minnesota continued even more, shooting 28.9 percent from the field in the final half. Trailing 60-54 heading into the fourth quarter, the Lynx scored just nine points and shot 26.7 percent to fall on the road.
Chicago shot the lights out in the game, finishing at 47.6 percent from the field while tallying nine three’s. Minnesota shot 35.5 percent, with five 3s.
Maya Moore once again led the way for the Lynx, recording a team-high 16 points and three rebounds in 27 minutes. Seimone Augustus finished behind Moore with 11 points and three rebounds, while Sylvia Fowles added nine points and a game-best 13 rebounds, Tanisha Wright had nine points in 15 minutes off the bench and Cecilia Zandalasini continued to play well with eight points and three rebounds.
Sharp-shooter Allie Quigley led Chicago with 15 points – including three 3s – and five assists, followed by Courtney Vandersloot with a near triple-double of 12 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.
The Lynx, who drop to 11-8 on the season, now sit in fourth place in the league standings, three games back of the first-place Seattle Storm (14-5) and Phoenix Mercury (14-5). Despite the loss, Minnesota remains one of the hottest teams in the league with a record of 8-2 in the last 10 games.
Some of those wins during that streak have included teams atop the WNBA standings, such as the Storm, Mercury and Sparks. The two losses, however, have come against two teams at the bottom of the standings, such as the Fever and now the Sky.
It’s all just another storyline in what has already been an eventful season for the WNBA’s defending champions.
The Lynx are back in action on Wednesday in Indiana, where they will take on the Fever at 11 a.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.