CHICAGO – The Lynx were missing two starters Tuesday but an unfamiliar personnel mix quickly found the cure to what’s been ailing them.
Maya Moore scored a game-high 31 points and four other starters also hit double figures as the Lynx (16-13) halted a three-game losing streak with an 85-64 victory over the Chicago Sky at Wintrust Arena.
Sylvia Fowles collected 15 points and 11 rebounds, Danielle Robinson had 12 points and 11 assists while Cecilia Zandalasini had 11 points and Seimone Augustus added 10.
“It’s really hard to know how that’s going to work out, we have no practice time,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “I thought we were really focused defensively, just trying to be hard to play against a potent offensive team.”
Maya Moore highlights
Combined with Phoenix losing to Washington, the Lynx moved into sixth place in the WNBA standings and will clinch a playoff berth if they beat Las Vegas on Thursday. The top eight teams make the playoffs, with the top two getting automatic berths in the semifinals.
The Sky shot 34 percent (23-of-67) from the field, a season low for a Lynx opponent.
It was Minnesota’s best offensive outing since beating New York 85-82 on July 24 and the largest margin of victory in Chicago in team history.
“I thought our communication was really good, which helps when you have some unusual lineups,” said Moore. “That caused us to focus more.”
Allie Quigley scored 22 points, including four three-pointers, Courtney Vandersloot had 11 while Cheyenne Parker added 10 for Chicago (10-19).
The reigning WNBA champs, averaging just 66 points per game during their recent losing streak, were without guard Lindsay Whalen and forward Rebekkah Brunson.
Whalen was rested after a scoreless performance in Sunday's loss to Atlanta while Brunson remained home after suffering a nose fracture in the 86-66 home loss to the Dream. She’s considered day-to-day.
Starting instead were Zandalasini — making her first career start — while Robinson made her first of the season but 161st of her career.
The Sky claimed an 11-point lead en route to 26-17 edge after one quarter. The Lynx opened the second with eight unanswered points and briefly took a 29-28 lead on Sylvia Fowles’ layup at the 5:16 mark.
There were four lead changes and two ties the rest of the way before the Lynx claimed a 39-38 halftime lead on Robinson’s buzzer-beating jumper.
Danielle Robinson highlights
The Lynx began the third quarter with 12 unanswered points for a 51-38 lead on Fowles’ layup at the 6:39 mark. The lead hit 15 at 68-53 on a Moore jumper and remained unchanged through the period’s final 1 minute 20 seconds.
In the fourth quarter, the lead reached 22 — at 80-58 — on a Robinson layup with 2:54 to play. Chicago didn’t make a basket in the fourth quarter until there was 5:28 left. Moore was 11 of 17 from the field and the Lynx shot 53 percent.
Lynx 85, Chicago 64 Thursday: 9 p.m. at Las Vegas