The somewhat struggling Minnesota Lynx (14-3) will look to extend their winning streak to two on Tuesday night in front of their home crowd when they play host to the Chicago Sky (7-9).
SIMILAR PREDICAMENT: The Lynx and the Sky both won their most recent games played on July 1st (Chicago beat Washington) and July 2nd (Minnesota beat San Antonio), however, last Wednesday night, both teams lost.
Minnesota fell in overtime to the New York Liberty, 95-92, while Chicago couldn't match the offensive dominance of the Indiana Fever, losing 95-83. A loss for the Lynx meant extending their losing streak to three, while the Sky have lost five of their last six. The loss for the Lynx pushed their losing streak to three, while the Sky had lost four of their last six games.
At the core for Chicago, forward Elena Delle Donne, who put up impressive numbers against the Fever, with 21 points, six rebounds, and two blocks. While her efforts, and the Sky, fell short, Donne remains optimistic.
"I think it's exciting," said Donne. "We will have quarters where everything is working, but we have to be able to put four solid quarters together. We have it in us; it's just about figuring it out."
Also, looking to figure things out is Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve's lineup, whose historical 13-0 start to the season has struggled defensively as of late.
The Lynx dropped a 15- point lead late in the third quarter against the Liberty. New York found their momentum at the right time, going on 13-2 run to tie the game up, and most importantly get the win in overtime against Minnesota.
"The other night got the best of us," said Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen last Friday, "we could have executed better. The last three games haven't gone our way, but it's a chance to hone in on the little things both on and off the court."
Even though Minnesota remains second in the Western Conference at 14-3, behind the Los Angeles Sparks (16-1), and number two in the league in both assist and points allowed, they recognize there is room for improvement.
"We need to pay more attention to defense," said Lynx guard Seimone Augustus, "it's nothing major, it's more minor things, but we have to be more of the dictator."
If anyone knows the offensive threat Minnesota can be, it's Chicago. The Sky suffered their worst loss of the season when the met Minnesota for the first time this season in a 97-80 beat down.
"It's very difficult," explained Donne, "they are a championship team. You aren't going to shut down their superstars; you're going to have to contain them."
And if Minnesota's loss to New York proved anything, it was that their superstars can be contained, holding Augustus to 10 points, and Whalen to only eight points.
However, for Minnesota, it's all about timing.
"We don't want to peak just yet," said Seimone, "We want to peak at the right time. We are fine tuning things. We are going to get to a that point where we are playing great basketball."
The Lynx are excited to use tonight's matchup against Chicago as a tune-up, while a win against one of the best teams in the WNBA would help build the Sky's morale.
"We are searching for wins," said Elena, "they are a great force in front of their home, so what a confidence builder that would be."
Tip- off is set for 8 PM EST at Target Center in Minneapolis.