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Lynx defend perfect record against Sky

Minnesota has made 36 out of 40 free throws in the last two games. Against the Sky, the Lynx went 15-16, including a three-point play sequence for Seimone Augustus (pictured)
Shaun Williams-Wyche

In a battle of undefeated teams, the Minnesota Lynx survived another close duel to beat the Chicago Sky 75-72 Monday afternoon at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.

Lindsay Whalen scored a season-high 22 points and Seimone Augustus added 17 to alleviate a struggling Maya Moore.

Minnesota (5-0) displayed much grit to respond to a week-long narrative about playing three games in four days. Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve didn't consider the compact window to be their most excruciating leg of the season, but she is ready to field a new set of questions.

"The way this team tackles challenges just makes me proud. To push through it and not feel sorry for ourselves, this is a pretty tough-minded crew," Reeve said.

To say Minnesota faced a challenge would be an understatement. Chicago (4-1) got an upper leg with some early penetration, scoring 14 points in the paint in the first quarter, while Minnesota's usually efficient shooting technique lost its footing.

Minnesota regained balance, and the remainder of the game was a tactical skirmish. Neither team led by more than seven, but the Lynx encountered the same scene they faced a year ago in Chicago, leading by three in the closing seconds of regulation.

Last year, Elena Delle Donne hit an off-balance three-pointer from the right wing to force overtime in a game the Sky won 94-86. This time, with 12.3 seconds to go, Courtney Vandersloot was cut off by Minnesota's defense at the left wing, and her only option was a shovel pass to Delle Donne for a 29-foot three that caromed off the back of the rim.

"They took away what we were going for," Vandersloot said. "We made it tough for them at points, but we made some costly turnovers down the stretch."

"It was the same play that they ran last year. Maya did a great job sticking (defense), Whalen did a great job hounding Vandersloot and created a chaotic situation for them," Augustus said.

Delle Donne finished with 16 points for Chicago, and Jessica Breland recorded a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Allie Quigley scored a career-high 15 points thanks to a reliable jumper, but her bunnies from inside came up soft, leaving some transition plays empty for the Sky.

Moore's 30-point scoring streak ended, but her contributions elsewhere was an effective demonstration of her all-around potency. Her choking defense against Delle Donne forced the second-year forward into tough shots.

"That was her best defensive game of her Lynx career. I don't know that I would have thought about doing that even a year ago. Maya is really responding to these types of challenges and adding different things to our game," Reeve said.

Only when Moore was called to the bench did Delle Donne find openings to drive through, but she was unable to cause enough damage.

Augustus and Whalen provided the offensive response for the Lynx, with the pair hitting several clutch jump shots in the closing minutes of regulation.

"Just being ready when it swings around to you. That's been a constant theme throughout the start of the year," Whalen said.

Moore finished with 14 points, dropping her average to 29.8 per game. However, her 149 points through the first five games of the season is the highest mark in league history.

Minnesota gets three days to recharge before hosting San Antonio Friday night.

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