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Courtney Vandersloot leads Sky past winless Lynx

Sportsnaut
Oct 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; A view of the offical game ball during the second half of game one of the 2021 WNBA Finals between the Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Courtney Vandersloot scored 16 points, dished out 11 assists and made the clinching free throws Saturday night as the Chicago Sky held off the winless Minnesota Lynx 82-78 in Minneapolis.

Vandersloot converted two foul shots with 23.8 seconds left to give Chicago a two-possession lead. Minnesota’s Evina Westbrook missed a 3-pointer and the Sky were able to run out the clock after grabbing the rebound.

Emma Meesseman led five players in double figures for Chicago (2-1) with 17 points. Azura Stevens hit for 14, while Candace Parker added 11 points and 31-year-old rookie Rebekah Gardner, playing her second WNBA game, came off the bench to tally 10.

Nikolina Milic scored a game-high 18 points in a reserve role for Minnesota, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Lynx from falling to 0-4. Sylvia Fowles added 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Moriah Jefferson also hit for 16 points.

Aerial Powers chipped in 11 for Minnesota, which hit 49.2 percent of its field goal attempts and earned a 37-28 advantage on the boards. But the Sky committed just five turnovers, as opposed to the Lynx’s 15.

Fowles pulled Minnesota within 77-76 on a turnaround jumper with 52.8 seconds left, but Vandersloot drained a 3-pointer on Chicago’s next possession for a four-point edge.

Chicago used an 11-2 run early in the game to build a lead that Minnesota couldn’t erase, even though it made spurts periodically. Parker’s hook shot made it 13-6 less than 4 1/2 minutes into the first quarter.

The Lynx pulled within 21-18 after 10 minutes but fell behind 31-19 less than two minutes into the second quarter when Vandersloot found Parker for a layup. After drawing within 39-35, Minnesota gave up an 8-1 burst on the way to a 47-38 deficit at halftime.

Parker converted a 3-point play at the 5:27 mark of the third quarter to up Chicago’s advantage to 58-44. But the Lynx rallied again, using a jumper by Milic to slash the deficit to 64-56 going to the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media