After playing and losing three games in four nights against the three best teams in the league, Minnesota needed a win. They certainly played as if the stakes were high as they dominated the Sky 85-64, the franchise’s largest win in Chicago.
Missing two of their starters in Rebekkah Brunson (nose), and Lindsay Whalen (rest), the Lynx had their work cut out for them in this one. With Danielle Robinson (first start of the season) and Cecilia Zandalasini (first start of her career) filling in, things did not look promising early on. Chicago hung 26 points on the Lynx in the first quarter. They made five of their first six threes which created a strong sense of “deja vu” for the Lynx after they allowed the Dream to hit 12 threes on Sunday night. Instead Minnesota turned everything around from that point forward, outscoring the Sky by 30 the rest of the way.
Third Quarter Domination
Minnesota recovered from that first quarter, and pulled ahead by one going into halftime. Then in the third, proceeded to play their best quarter in quite some time and put the game away. They outscored Chicago 29-15, and had eight assists on 12 made baskets. Defensively, they were on point as well forcing six turnovers and only allowing four Sky FGs.
While Moore was the star of the quarter (and the game), Robinson was the straw that stirred the drink. She had five assists and was a menace on defense. Her speed provides an important transition element that is missing whenever she is not on the floor. Minnesota’s back court is in safe hands in a post-Whalen world.
Maya Scored More
Over the Lynx three game losing streak Moore combined to score 30 points in 86 minutes. Tuesday in Chicago she got her mojo back scoring 31 points in 31 minutes. The sharp shooting, dynamic, efficient player that Lynx fans have come to love has reappeared. Her 31 points came on 11-17 shooting including 4-6 from three and 5-7 from the free throw line. Moore also added six rebounds and two steals.
Her best game of the season really got going in the opening minutes of the second quarter as she singlehandedly scored the first eight points of the frame. To say she was feeling it would be an understatement. Moore moved well without the ball to find open spaces created by Robinson drives or attention to Sylvia Fowles. If Moore can score efficiently like this on a more consistent basis, the Lynx playoff fate looks more promising.
The Lynx can now clinch a playoff berth with a win in Las Vegas on Thursday. Road victories are hard to come by and the Aces will be fighting for their playoff lives. It should be a fun one.
Fowles stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, 11 rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocks.
Minnesota had a season high 19 fast break points. Why yes, there is a direct correlation to this and Robinson starting over Whalen.
Alexis Jones, once thought to have a meaningful role on the team this season, played less than five minutes. While a talented player is in there somewhere, she clearly has not shown the coaching staff enough just yet.
Chicago Bulls players Jabari Parker, Bobby Portis, and Antonio Blakeney were sitting courtside cheering for the Sky.
Minnesota is in Las Vegas on Thursday night. Tip off is at 9pm CT. You can watch it on NBATV or listen at BOB 106 FM.