ROSEMONT, ILL. – Maya Moore’s league-record scoring streak is no more. Her team’s winning streak to start the season, on the other hand, is alive and well.
Lindsay Whalen scored 22 points, Seimone Augustus added 17 and the Lynx held off the Chicago Sky 75-72 on Monday in a showdown of the WNBA’s lone remaining unbeaten teams.
Moore came into the game averaging 33.8 points per game, tops in the league, and she had set a WNBA record by scoring at least 30 points in four games in a row.
This time, the forward was held to 14 points and 5-for-14 shooting, but her defense on Chicago star Elena Delle Donne helped the defending league champion Lynx improve to 5-0, including their third victory in four days over the holiday weekend.
“Coming into the game my biggest concern was defense,” Moore said after helping hold Delle Donne, the league’s second-leading scorer, to 16 points before an announced crowd of 6,058 at Allstate Arena. “I knew I was going to be matched up against Elena and that was my main focus and what my effort was going into. [And] we all shared the ball and took our moments to step up and hit shots.”
Jessica Breland also scored 16 points while reserve Allie Quigley added a career-high 15 points for Chicago (4-1), including a three-pointer with 44.5 seconds to go that made it 75-72.
Augustus drove to the basket but missed on the Lynx’s final possession, and Chicago coach Pokey Chatman followed with a timeout, but Delle Donne, well-defended by Whalen, could only get off a desperation three-pointer that bounced off the backboard and rim before falling off harmlessly as the final buzzer sounded.
“We were helping [on defense] today,” Whalen said following the national telecast on ESPN2. “That’s one thing I don’t think we were doing a very good job at the first four games.”
Delle Donne had tied the score at 63-63 with a long jumper with 6:33 to play and added a putback for a 65-63 Chicago lead with 5:02 to go. But the Lynx went on a 12-4 run from there, starting with back-to-back scores by Tan White that gave them the lead for good at 67-65.
“They do have a lot of heads to the snake,” Delle Donne said about the multiple threats on the Lynx, who also went 15-for-16 from the free-throw line.
Chicago was again without guard Epiphanny Prince, who was on the bench in street clothes for the second consecutive game after her return last week following a lengthy personal leave. The Sky was also missing Sylvia Fowles, sidelined while recovering from a hip injury.
Whalen, who shot 9-for-14 from the floor, scored 12 points in the first half for the Lynx, matching the combined 12 from Moore and Augustus on the way to a 42-39 halftime lead. Delle Donne was held without a point for nearly 10 minutes and closed the half with seven points.
The Sky trailed 59-56 following Courtney Clements’ jumper with 59 seconds left in the third quarter. But Whalen’s fadeaway jumper with 21 seconds left closed the scoring, putting the Lynx up 61-56 going into the final quarter.