Lynx look to get offense untracked vs. Sky

National Sports

Before hitting the road for five straight games, the Chicago Sky will close out a homestand on Saturday against the Minnesota Lynx.

Saturday’s matchup is the third straight for the Sky (11-11) at Wintrust Arena since the WNBA returned from an Olympics hiatus earlier this month. They dropped their second game of that stretch Tuesday to the Dallas Wings, 80-76.

“We’ve got to be tougher, just keep fighting no matter the time, no matter what the score is, and not make the same mistakes over and over,” said Kahleah Copper, who is in her fifth season playing for the Sky.

Among those mistakes, Chicago committed five fouls in the fourth quarter and fell behind by 12 points in the period after missing clean looks at the basket against the Wings.

The Sky will aim to replicate the offensive consistency they showed when last facing Minnesota (13-9). Chicago won 105-89 on June 15.

That outing was Chicago’s best offensive showing of the season and Minnesota’s worst on defense. The Lynx have surrendered more than 89 points only once in 12 games since and are tied with the Sky for the WNBA’s third-best average scoring yield at 79.6 points per game.

Offense has been Minnesota’s issue over its past two games, however. After extending a winning streak that began before the hiatus to eight games with an 88-78 defeat of New York on Aug. 15, the Lynx dropped back-to-back decisions Tuesday and Thursday to Connecticut.

Minnesota scored just 60 and 71 points in those losses. They had 17 attempts at the foul line compared to 41 for Connecticut.

Following Thursday’s 11-point loss, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve told the Minneapolis Star Tribune: “Our players are not doing a good job embellishing the contact they received. I’ve always asked our players to be tough and play through the contact. But it’s hurting us.”

Minnesota ranks third-to-last in the league at 16.6 free-throw attempts per game. The Lynx lean primarily on interior scorers Napheesa Collier and Sylvia Fowles, who average more than 32 combined points per game, but both average fewer than four foul shots per game.

Minnesota’s interior-based look contrasts with a Chicago offense reliant on perimeter scorers. Of five double-figure scorers, only Candace Parker plays inside. The foursome of Copper, Courtney Vandersloot, Diamond DeShields and Allie Quigley all play beyond the arc.

–Field Level Media

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