By Fred Mitchell, Chicago Tribune –
CHICAGO — With slim playoff hopes dangling precariously in the balance, the Sky probably would have preferred a less imposing opponent Tuesday night than the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx.
Entering with an 11-game winning streak, the Western Conference-leading Lynx (24-5) strutted out stars Maya Moore, Rebekkah Brunson, Taj McWilliams- Franklin, Monica Wright and Lindsay Whalen.
But the Sky (12-17) managed to pull off the improbable with an 83-70 victory before an announced crowd of 4,296 at Allstate Arena. The Sky now are tied with New York for the fourth and final playoff spot with five games remaining.
With center Sylvia Fowles out of the lineup for the second straight game and wearing a plastic cast on her left leg, the Sky went with a scrappy starting lineup of Tamera Young, Swin Cash, Carolyn Swords, Epiphanny Prince and Courtney Vandersloot.
Prince led all scorers with 26 points. Vandersloot scored 17 and Swords added 11. The Lynx (24-5) got 18 points from Moore and 17 from Brunson.
“This is the latest (victory) so this is the biggest one. And the next one we win, that will be the biggest one,” Sky coach Pokey Chatman said.
The Lynx had not lost a game since July 7 against Connecticut.
The Sky, which led by as many as 13 points (42-29) early in the third quarter, led 61-55 heading into the fourth.
Minnesota tied the game 61-61 with 9:02 left in the fourth on Candice Wiggins’ 3-pointer, her fourth of the game. The Sky fought back and went ahead 75-67 with 3:42 to go on a Swords basket following a great feed from Prince.
Vandersloot was fouled after making a driving layup. She completed the three-point play to make it 78-67 with 3:17 left.