Minneapolis, Minn.– Rain was falling steadily outside the Target Center Tuesday, but inside it was lights out shooting.
In a contest that featured two of the premier players in the WNBA, it was Maya Moore and the Lynx who prevailed over Elena Delle Donne and the Sky, 87-82.
With the two stars in a shooting duel throughout the match up, the lead changed 18 times and was tied ten times. But the result was decided by a key defensive play in the game’s final seconds.
The Lynx were only up three points when the Sky had the chance to tie the game with 12 seconds remaining. As Chicago was setting up their offense, an errant pass by guard Jamierra Faulkner led to a steal by Minnesota forward Rebekah Brunson, who took it coast to coast for the lay in, sealing the win.
Moore lead the Lynx with 33 points, while Seimone Augustus had 16. Delle Donne had 38 points for the Sky.
“It was a good stretch” said Brunson, when asked on her performance in the fourth. “I was rested. I was sitting down with the foul trouble so I got a little break. I just wanted to go out there and play hard for the last couple of minutes.”
Coming out of the half, Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve knew that fatigue would be a factor down the stretch.
“I told our team at halftime in particular, it was a fun game to be a part of, I think both teams are playing really well. Second half, I think both teams had a little fatigue set in for sure. We had people playing more minutes than probably each of us wanted to, but I just thought it was a great game. It was a great game for national TV (ESPN 2).”
Moore and Della Donne certainly gave the national audience a worthwhile performance. Moore shot 12-of-18 from the field, including 6-of-9 from behind the arc. Della Donne shot 73 percent from the field as she recorded her second straight double-double, adding 10 rebounds to her 38 points.
“They’re great players.” Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. “Maya’s an MVP. Elena is an MVP. They’re Olympians. Their play is different, but it’s still impactful. To know that the other team is scheming for you and you still have the ability to be relevant and also be damn good, it speaks volume for your play.”
The Lynx improve to 15-3 on the season and will next visit the Connecticut Sun on Wednesday. The Sky will now begin a four-game homestand that starts Friday, when they host the New York Liberty