Sky’s five-game winning streak snapped with 81-78 loss to Lynx
Kahleah Copper led the Sky with 20 points. Allie Quigley added 18 points, and Candace Parker had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
MINNEAPOLIS — Fourth-quarter pressure has produced some of the Sky’s best basketball moments this season.
Entering their game Wednesday against the Lynx, they were second in the WNBA in fourth-quarter points behind the Sun. In their last game against the Lynx, Courtney Vandersloot made a buzzer-beating three-pointer to win the game.
The Sky had a chance to add to those heroics Wednesday. They cut an 11-point deficit to three and had a chance to send the game to overtime. The inbounds play gave Allie Quigley an open look from the top of the key, but her shot missed, and the Sky’s five-game winning streak ended with an 81-78 loss.
‘‘It was a great play, a great screen,’’ Quigley said. ‘‘Just [have to] make it next time.’’
Sky forward Candace Parker and Lynx center Sylvia Fowles have been playing against each other since they were in high school, and Wednesday might have been their last meeting on the court because Fowles is set to retire at the end of the season.
Before the game, which started at noon, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said it would be clear whom the early risers on both teams were. The Lynx found their rhythm early. Aerial Powers had a double-double with a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds. Fowles added 14 points and seven rebounds.
Meanwhile, the Sky struggled to establish their inside game and were held far below their league-leading shooting averages. They finished the game shooting 39.7% overall and 30.3% from behind the arc. They had seven free-throw attempts to the Lynx’s 20.
Reeve said it would be a priority for the Lynx to take away the Sky’s inside game. They succeeded, holding them to 28 points in the paint. The Sky average a league-high 40.3 points inside.
‘‘Credit to their defense,’’ Sky forward Kahleah Copper said.
Copper led the Sky with 20 points. Quigley added 18 points, and Parker had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
During the course of their five-game winning streak, the Sky had played their best basketball of the season. Still, they are eighth in the league in turnovers per game (15.2), and the 16 points they allowed the Lynx off 15 turnovers were too much to overcome.
‘‘Some of the turnovers we accept because of how we play, our pace,’’ Copper said. ‘‘It was those live-ball turnovers and having consecutive turnovers that killed us.’’
The Sky (15-6) are tied with the Aces atop the standings. The teams will play for the Commissioner’s Cup championship July 26, and the host will be the team with the highest winning percentage through Thursday.
Each team had one more game — the Aces at home late Wednesday against the Liberty and the Sky on the road Thursday against the Fever — to secure the home-court edge.
If the teams are still tied, point differential in Cup games will be the tiebreaker. The Aces are plus-102 to the Sky’s plus-82.