Chicago Sky rallies but still falls shorts against Lynx
So maybe star power is overrated.
The Minnesota Lynx went from having one of the most star-studded rosters in the WNBA last season to, well, let's just say not quite the same kind of team.
Gone is legendary point guard Lindsay Whalen, retired and now the head coach at the University of Minnesota.
Gone is one of the best players on the planet, Maya Moore … for now. She's taking the year off for personal reasons.
Gone are veterans and all-stars Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson, both out until further notice with serious injuries.
Only former Sky center Sylvia Fowles is a returning starter from last season.
And yet, as has been the case for a decade, the Lynx is still one of the top teams in the WNBA.
"We look a lot different, don't we," chuckled Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve, who has guided the Lynx to four WNBA championships. "But any time you have Sylvia Fowles on your team, you have a chance to be successful.
"And we also have a collection of players who have a will about them. We have a relentless way that we play."
That relentlessness was on full display Wednesday night at Wintrust Arena in the South Loop.
The Lynx built a double-digit lead, as much as 13 points, against the host Chicago Sky, lost that lead late in the fourth quarter, but still managed to pull out a 73-72 victory on a jumper by guard Odyssey Sims with 6.4 seconds remaining and some tough defense on the Sky's final possession, which yielded a missed 3-point shot at the buzzer by guard Allie Quigley, who otherwise torched the Lynx for a game-high 24 points on 6-of-13 shooting from 3-point range.
"Coach (Reeve) told me that if I got the ball, to just break my player down," said Sims, who topped the Lynx with 16 points. "I did what I could and created some space and I got the shot off."
The Lynx, who move to 9-6 on the season and have won five of six, got 13 points each from both rookie Napheesa Collier and reserve Asia Taylor (career high) and 10 points apiece out of both Fowles (12 rebounds) and Danielle Robinson.
"This is part of our younger generation," Fowles said. "These girls (on the Lynx) are very gritty. They are definitely teaching me a lot in my 12th year.
"But I'm also trying (to lead). I'm the only one back (from last year). And I like that challenge. I let them know that I'm here whenever they need me and that I've got their backs no matter what."
Quigley tried to have that kind of role with her teammates late in the game. She propped up the Sky, coming up with one big shot after another.
But she couldn't get her game-winner to fall.
"We showed a lot of heart coming back," Quigley said. "But it's just really frustrating thinking that we just dig ourselves a hole in the first half. If we play better, if we start better, then it's not going to be that kind of result. It's frustrating more than anything, but we're just going to stay positive and know that it's in us to be a second-half team."
The Sky (7-8) also got 13 points from forward Diamond DeShields and 12 from reserve guard Gabby Williams.