The Stage is Set: Lynx Host Chicago Sky to Begin WNBA Playoffs

(image credit: screenshot from Minnesota Lynx on YouTube)

After receiving the third seed and a one-round bye while awaiting their opponent following the first round of the WNBA Playoffs, the Minnesota Lynx now know who they will welcome into Target Center in Minneapolis this weekend to begin their journey at fighting for a league title.

After the conclusion of the single-elimination first round on Thursday, which saw the No. 6 Chicago Sky beat the No. 7 Dallas Wings and the No. 5 Phoenix Mercury top the No. 8 New York Liberty, Minnesota will host Chicago at 4 p.m. CT on Sunday in Minneapolis in a win-or-go-home second-round game with a trip to the semifinal round on the line.

Now with one half of the second round set between Minnesota and Chicago, let’s dive into the playoff opponent and how the Lynx have and could match up against the Sky.

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT CHICAGO

To tip off the playoffs on Thursday night, Chicago blew past Dallas 81-64 despite a second-half comeback attempt from the Wings to advance to take on the Lynx.

After a rough start, Chicago came into the playoffs with a record of 16-16 overall en route to claiming the sixth seed and a home contest in the opening round. The Sky played better in the latter portion of the summer, having gone 5-5 in their final 10 games.

Leading the way for Chicago during the regular season was Kahleah Copper with 14.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists and Candace Parker with 13.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.2 blocks. Behind them, Allie Quigley averaged 13.2 points, Diamond DeShields averaged 11.3 points and 3.5 rebounds and Courtney Vandersloot tallied 10.5 points, a WNBA-best 8.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds a game.

In the first-round matchup against Dallas, Chicago displayed a balanced attack among its starting five on the way to a 17-point victory. Copper led with a team-best 23 points, followed by Vandersloot with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists, Quigley with 15 points and Parker with 11 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and three steals.

Lynx fans are familiar with at least a few faces on the side of the Sky, including Parker — who joined her home state team this past offseason — from the days of the bitter rivalry matchups against Minnesota as a member of the Los Angeles Sparks, as well as Chicago head coach James Wade who was an assistant coach under Cheryl Reeve from 2017-18.

HOW THE TEAMS MATCHED UP DURING THE REGULAR SEASON

Throughout the 32-game regular season, Minnesota and Chicago faced off two times, with both teams winning one game in that series.

On June 15, the two teams faced off in Minneapolis, with the Sky cruising to a 105-89 win in that contest. In that game, Napheesa Collier finished with 27 points and five rebounds, Sylvia Fowles had 14 points, nine rebounds and two steals and both Kayla McBride and Damiris Dantas added nine points to lead Minnesota. For Chicago, Quigley led the way with 23 points, followed by Stefanie Dolson with 17 points and six rebounds, DeShields and Copper with 16 points each, Parker with 12 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, and Vandersloot with 10 points, 13 assists and four steals.

In the rematch on Aug. 21 in Chicago, the Lynx evened things up by claiming a 101-95 win over the Sky. Minnesota was led in that contest by Layshia Clarendon with 18 points and five assists, Natalie Achonwa and McBride with 16 points each, Fowles with 15 points and six rebounds and Collier with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. On the other side, Chicago was paced by Vandersloot and Quigley with 27 points a piece, along with Copper’s 14 points and Dolson’s 12 points.

At home this season, the Lynx compiled a record of 13-3 overall. On the road, the Sky owned a record of 10-6 in 16 games.

WNBA PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

First Round (single-elimination):

  • No. 6 Chicago Sky 81, No. 7 Dallas Wings 64 RECAP
  • No. 5 Phoenix Mercury 83, No. 8 New York Liberty 82 RECAP

Second Round (single-elimination):

  • No. 4 Seattle Storm vs. No. 5 Phoenix Mercury, 2 p.m. CT on Sunday
  • No. 3 Minnesota Lynx vs. No. 6 Chicago Sky, 4 p.m. CT on Sunday

Semifinals (best-of-five):

  • No. 2 Las Vegas Aces vs. TBD
  • No. 1 Connecticut Sun vs. TBD
    • Game 1: Tuesday, Sept. 28
    • Game 2: Thursday, Sept. 30
    • Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 3
    • Game 4 (if necessary): Wednesday, Oct. 6
    • Game 5 (if necessary): Friday, Oct. 8

WNBA Finals (best-of-five):

    • Game 1: Sunday, Oct. 10
    • Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 13
    • Game 3: Friday, Oct. 15
    • Game 4 (if necessary): Sunday, Oct. 17
    • Game 5 (if necessary): Tuesday, Oct. 19
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