The Minnesota Lynx closed out yet another strong regular season tonight, beating the Chicago Sky 79-66 in their home regular season finale.
Minnesota and Chicago had both already clinched the top seed in their respective conferences, but Minnesota's victory tonight gives them homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. The Lynx finished the season at 26-8, while Chicago fell to 24-10. Look for these teams as a potential Finals matchup.
The game got off to the kind of start that most expected from two top-notch ballclubs. The playoff atmosphere in the Target Center was apparent as early as the player introductions, and the first half gameplay didn't disappoint either.
Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen started the game off for the Lynx with the team's first 15 points (Moore: 10, Whalen: 5). The only other player to score in the quarter was Rebekkah Brunson, who finished with 4 points in the first, including a very tough putback in the final seconds.
Moore clearly wanted this game, and her production started early. She finished the first quarter with 13 points on 3-4 shooting from beyond the arc.
The two-headed monster inside of Slyvia Fowles and Elena Delle Donne combined for 11 points and kept Chicago in it early. The Lynx led 22-19 after one quarter of play.
The second quarter didn't see the same level of intensity as the first, and the Lynx were able to take over. Scratch that, Lindsay Whalen was able to take over. She finished the quarter with 13 points, leading a 9-0 run to start the second.
Outside of Delle Donne and Fowles, nobody was finishing for Chicago. The Sky's no. 3 scorer Epiphanny Prince was 2-6 from the field with with only 5 points.
Minnesota was able to get off to a hot start, and Chicago's attempt at playing catch-up didn't work in the half. The Lynx were able to expand their lead to end the half, leading 45-34.
The score difference didn't change much in the third quarter. Despite a rough opening two minutes for Minnesota, the Sky weren't able to capitalize on the opportunity.
Eventually, the Lynx were able to find their form again. Seimone Augustus led the team in scoring in the third quarter with 6 points, giving the Lynx an extra 4-point cushion heading into the final quarter. Minnesota led Chicago 67-53.
The fourth quarter was more of the same. Chicago could never muster enough of a run for them to stand a chance, and Minnesota was able to close them out fairly easily. They were able to sit their starting lineup in the game's last two minutes.
Lindsay Whalen led all scorers with 23 points, along with 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Maya Moore wasn't far behind with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists.
Sylvia Fowles had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Sky, while Elena Delle Donne finished the game with 14 points. The guard play was nonexistent for Chicago. Epiphanny Prince and Courtney Vandersloot combined for 18 points on 7-27 shooting.
With her stellar shooting on the evening, Maya Moore became the first player in WNBA history to lead the league in both 3-pointers made (72) as well as three-point percentage (.453).
The Lynx will open in the first round of the playoffs against the Seattle Storm on Friday at 7pm at the Target Center. We'll have it all covered with a playoff preview, game thread, and of course a recap.