Minneapolis, MN -- When you pit two former league-MVPs against each other, you're bound for a great matchup.
That's exactly what happened Tuesday night.
The Minnesota Lynx hosted the Chicago Sky at the Target Center in Minneapolis Tuesday night, and stars Maya Moore and Elena Delle Donne lived up to their All-Star status'.
And while the game went down to the wire, it was Moore and the Lynx who snuck away with an 87-82 win.
"They're great players. Maya's an MVP. Elena is an MVP. They're Olympians," said Sky head coach Pokey Chatman. "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."
Minnesota kicked things off, jumping out to a 10-2 run to start the game. However, the Sky weren't going to go quietly. They rallied back with an 11-3 run to retake the lead late in the first quarter.
But, it didn't stop there. Chicago hit its last five shots of the quarter to take a six-point lead after the first period. A big advantage for the Sky came from the free throw line, where they hit 13-of-14 from the line.
The Lynx rallied back in the second quarter, and continued to alternate with the Sky through the period. Heading into the locker room, Minnesota led 52-51.
The first half, though, belonged to Chicago forward Elena Delle Donne. After missing her first two shots, Delle Donne hit her next eight buckets — including four three-pointers — to drop 25 points in the first half.
"[Delle Donne] was trying to get closer and we have three defenders that obviously took to the challenge and she's a great player," said Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen. "She's got length, but we made the plays that we had to and give her credit, she had a great game, but between Maya [Moore] and Brunson, we were able to get stops there down the stretch."
The Sky kept the momentum alive into the third quarter, opening on a 9-0 run. They forced seven Minnesota turnovers in the period and held the Lynx to just nine points, giving them a 68-63 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
With 7:20 left in the game, Lynx forward Sylvia Fowles made a put-back layup to give them a 71-70 lead — their first since halftime. The two would keep things close through the majority of the quarter, with neither able to pull ahead.
With just under one minute to play, Moore hit a bucket from behind the arc to give the Lynx a five-point cushion. However, Delle Donne quickly drew a foul and hit both shots from the free throw line, bringing the Sky back within three.
Yet in the final seconds, Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson jumped the passing lane to steal the ball and the converted the fast break layup to seal the deal, giving Minnesota the 87-82 win.
"Our offense has improved a lot," Delle Donne said. "Back then, we were playing selfish defense and weren't helping one another and I do feel like we are getting somewhere and improving, but that one tonight stings. You know we let them have 26 points in the fourth quarter and they're too good to allow that."
Moore led the Lynx with 33 points, shooting 67% from the field. Seimone Augustus and Fowles also finished in double figures for the Lynx, dropping 16 and 15 points, respectively. Linsday Whalen finished with 11 points.
Delle Donne led the Sky with 38 points, 25 of which game in the first quarter. She shot nearly 75 percent from the field, went 5-of-6 from behind the arc, and was a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line. Guard Jamierra Faulkner was the only other Sky player to finish in double figures, dropping 18 points off the bench, plus a team-high seven assists.
Minnesota is back in action on Thursday when they take on the Connecticut Sun. Chicago will next host the New York Liberty on Friday.