Whalen scores 16 to lead Lynx past Sky, 79-76
ROSEMONT, Ill. – Lindsay Whalen scored 16 points led Minnesota's balanced scoring effort and the Lynx held off the Chicago Sky 79-76 Friday night.
Seimone Augustus had 14 points, Maya Moore scored 13 and Candice Wiggins 12 for Minnesota (17-5), which won for the 10th time in 11 games and 12th in 14.
"Everybody did a good job taking care of the ball," Whalen said. "We fought through a lot of plays and Chicago has a great team. We were happy to get the win."
The Lynx, who had a franchise-record nine-game winning streak snapped in a loss at Phoenix on Tuesday night, improved to 8-3 on the road.
"We wanted to start with a new streak tonight," Whalen said. "We really need to continue playing hard and getting wins on the road is huge."
Sylvia Fowles scored 28 points on 11-for-13 shooting to lead the Sky (10-14), who have lost four of their last five. Tamera Young added 16 points.
"We need to have to have a sense of urgency," Fowles said. "We're not that good just yet to relax and take plays off and play as individuals. We have to play as a team. ... I think it showed tonight, everybody was scoring and getting involved."
The Sky scored six consecutive points in a 34-second span — on two free throws and a layup by Fowles and a layup by Shay Murphy — to pull to 78-76 with 39 seconds to go, but Murphy missed a layup with 3 seconds to go.
Taj McWilliams-Franklin made 1 of 2 from the line, and Tamera Young missed desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Sky coach Pokey Chatman said her team doesn't take any moral victories from playinga close game against the league-best Lynx.
"That is not an option," she said. "They are professional players, they know where we are in the season, and they know a 'W' is what counts. I don't think I have to worry about that at all. I'm in that locker room I know and see the disappointment and that says enough right there."
Chicago trailed 61-54 entering the fourth quarter and pulled to 64-63 on Murphy's fastbreak basket. However, Wiggins made back-to-back 3s to restore Minnesota's seven-point lead.
"Both of us dug in defensively," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "We got some decent stops but they wouldn't go away and we couldn't put them away. But a win is a win."
A fast start gave Chicago a 17-7 lead midway through the opening quarter. But the Sky started to struggle, making just one field goal over the next 6:41.
The Lynx replied with a 15-2 run over the final 4:15 to open a 22-19 advantage by the end of the first quarter and led 47-39 at halftime.
Fowles had 16 points at halftime while Whalen and Augustus each had 10 for Minnesota.
Chicago opened the third quarter with an 11-3 run, including consecutive points and tied the score at 50-all on Courtney Vandersloot's bank shot.
The Lynx outscored the Sky 11-4 over final 7:15 of third quarter to take a seven-point lead.