Maya Moore led Minnesota (24-6) with 17 points and Lindsay Whalen added 14
In a game with 9 ties and 16 lead changes, Minnesota used an 11-0 run in the final 1:18 of regulation to pull away from a tight match-up.
"When the game was in the balance, we made key plays at key times," said Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve. "Hustle plays on the glass, getting extra possessions, being active."
In that span, Moore put the Lynx ahead with a 15-foot jumper to clean up a broken play. Allie Quigley had an open baseline drive on the following Sky (13-17) possession, but missed the lay-up attempt in what would be a costly maneuver.
Minnesota's finishing move came with 35.8 seconds remaining, holding a 67-64 lead. Sylvia Fowles received an inbound pass and was deflected from behind by Janel McCarville, who found Whalen up-court. Whalen hit a free throw after drawing a clear path foul, and Moore hit two more to neutralize Chicago's foul-and-chase strategy.
In the fourth quarter, Minnesota scored 11 points off 6 Chicago turnovers. Prior to that point, the Lynx managed just one point off turnovers. Also influential was their 42-22 edge from the paint.
"We picked it up, tried to get into the passing lanes and apply more ball pressure. We just looked for easy points," McCarville said.
However, the win was far from graceful for the Lynx. They missed all seven attempts from three-point range, with a 1-of-18 figure in the last two games. Reeve remains concerned with an apparent lack of cohesion among the starters, and their defense had no answer for Quigley, who lit them up for 20 points off the bench, making 9 of 14 shots.
"When we let players who aren't very athletic drive by us, it's a bit disappointing. I want to be a well-oiled machine," she said.
Other notables for the Sky include 18 points from Epiphanny Prince. Jessica Breland put in 12 points and 9 rebounds. Chicago, ravaged by injury and a flare-up of Elena Delle Donne's Lyme disease, continue to teeter on the edge of a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. The gap separating second and fifth place is only 1.5 games.
"We're finally getting players back, but they're not quite where they want to be," said Chicago head coach Pokey Chatman. "I'm going to take some of the positive defensive energy from here so when we get back home, we'll be ready for the number one team (Atlanta)."
Another major showdown looms ahead for the Lynx on Saturday, when they visit Phoenix for the final time this season. Phoenix maintained their 1.5-game lead in the Western Conference after eking an overtime victory over San Antonio on Thursday. Minnesota effectively has to win to maintain a reasonable chance of taking the top seed in the conference, with home-court advantage throughout the playoffs at stake.