The Minnesota Lynx and Chicago Sky both entered their Saturday night matchup at Wintrust Arena in Chicago facing questions about whether or not they were really contenders. The Lynx had lost two in a row to the Connecticut Sun to fall to 13-9 (fourth place) and the Sky had lost to a team with a losing record in the Dallas Wings to fall to 11-11 (sixth place).
The Sky, who were without Candace Parker due to an ankle injury, battled, but in the end the Lynx were too much for them, winning 101-95.
A Courtney Vandersloot 4-point play cut it to six with 33.6 seconds to go, but the Lynx then iced the game with some free throws. The Sky were within three early in the fourth.
Layshia Clarendon led the Lynx with 18 points and five assists. Kayla McBride (16 points), Crystal Dangerfield (16), Sylvia Fowles (15), Napheesa Collier (14) and Aerial Powers (10) joined her in double figures and Damiris Dantas had eight points, seven rebounds and four assists. McBride grabbed seven boards while Fowles (three blocks) hauled in six and Collier (four assists, two steals) notched five.
Vandersloot (eight assists, two steals) and her wife Allie Quigley (three assists) both had 27 points in defeat. Vandersloot was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc while Quigley was 4-of-6. The Lynx were an efficient 5-of-8 as a team with Dangerfield going 2-of-2.
Minnesota was also great from the field (54 percent) and went 28-of-33 (84.8 percent) from the free throw line after head coach Cheryl Reeve had made a point about her team not getting to the stripe enough.
One of the best storylines of this season: Layshia Clarendon going from out of the league to being a core player for the Lynx. She's ballin' right now!#WNBATwitter— Swish Appeal (@SwishAppeal) August 22, 2021
Phoenix Mercury (13-10) over Atlanta Dream (6-17), 84-69
Phoenix won the final frame by 12 to secure the 15-point win. It committed 24 turnovers, 14 more than Atlanta, but shot well from the field (52.6 percent) and from 3-point land (9-of-19) and outrebounded the Dream 47-24.
Skylar Diggins-Smith led the way with a stat line of 25 points, six rebounds, seven assists and two steals. Meanwhile, Diana Taurasi (18 points, four assists) impressed with 10 boards and also notched her 2,000th career assist.
Brittney Griner added 13 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and two blocks to the winning cause while Brianna Turner had 15 points, 10 boards and two rejections.
Odyssey Sims tossed in 16 points to lead the Dream.