As far as talented trios go in the WNBA, the Chicago Sky stacks up pretty well against the Minnesota Lynx, the defending league champion.
But a big advantage for the Lynx on Monday at the Allstate Arena was that all three of its superstars were in uniform and on the floor.
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Only forward Elena Delle Donne, last summer's rookie of the year, could counter for the Sky.
The Sky's other big guns -- all-star center Sylvia Fowles and all-star guard Epiphanny Prince -- were on the bench in street clothes, watching helplessly as the Lynx pulled out a 75-72 victory, thanks to clutch shots down the stretch by Olympians Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore.
The loss is the first of the season for the Sky (4-1), which is hoping to have Fowles (hip) back in early June and Prince (personal reasons) back for Friday's home game against the Connecticut Sun.
Minnesota, which got a game-high 22 points from Whalen, 17 points from Augustus and 14 points from Moore, stays perfect at 5-0.
"(Minnesota) does have a lot of heads to the snake, which is why they're such a great team," said Delle Donne, who scored 16 points and somehow did not attempt a single free throw.
"Not only that … but they're a smart team. They make great reads. They don't always have to just run their offense; they can read off each other. It does get difficult."
So do Whalen, Augustus and Moore, who were in on 10 of the Lynx's final 12 points, make up the toughest trio in the league?
"They're dang good," Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. "It would be hard to argue against that, but there are other very dynamic players in this league as well. They (Lynx trio) just have a well-oiled machine and that adds to their flavor."
The Sky, which was up by as many as 7 points early, also got 16 points and 15 rebounds from forward Jessica Breland and 15 points off the bench from former DePaul star Allie Quigley, who knocked down 3 big 3-pointers.
Point guard Courtney Vandersloot became the Sky's all-time assists leader (509) with 10 assists.
Down 5 points heading into the fourth quarter, the Sky went ahead 65-63 with 5:03 left on a Delle Donne putback. But Whalen and Moore each hit a couple of well-defended jump shots to get the lead back.
Quigley nailed a 3-pointer with 44.5 seconds left to cut the deficit to 75-72, and the Sky got the ball back for a final shot with about 12 seconds remaining.
But Elena Delle Donne's rushed and off-balanced 3-point attempt at the buzzer was off.
"We will learn a lot from this," Chatman said. "I thought defensively we were a little bit above average, and you can't be average when you're playing a really, really good team."