After a record start to the season, the Minnesota Lynx have cooled off and enter Tuesday's home game against the up-and-down Chicago Sky having lost three of four.
The Lynx (14-3) got off to the best start in WNBA history, winning their first 13 games, including a convincing 97-80 win over the Sky in their second game of the season. But Minnesota dropped three straight games following their record start, including a back-to-back blowout defeats to the Los Angeles Sparks and Washington Mystics.
They recovered with 91-68 rout of San Antonio on Saturday, but have fallen two games behind the first-place Sparks in the race for the best record in the league.
The Lynx got a big lift from their bench in the win over San Antonio. Reserve forward Natasha Howard came off the bench to score a game-high 21 points, and backup guard Jia Perkins added 14 points. Minnesota shot 52.3 percent from the floor and made 21 of 24 free throws.
The Sky (7-9) have lost four of six, but are coming off an overtime win over the Mystics on Friday.
Reigning MVP Elena Delle Donne had 28 points and 11 rebounds, and Courtney Vandersloot hit a shot with 4.6 seconds left in overtime to help Chicago end a two-game slide.
Minnesota forward Sylvia Fowles dominated the first meeting against the Sky, scoring 24 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in her first game against her former team. Fowles spent seven seasons in Chicago, before signing with Lynx late last season. She went on to be named WNBA Finals MVP, as the Lynx defeated the Indiana Fever to earn last season's championship.
Tuesday's game will feature a battle of two of the premier players in the league in Minnesota's Maya Moore and Delle Donne, who has scored 20-plus points in five straight outings. She is second in the league in scoring, averaging 20.3 points per game. Moore is averaging 18.5 points. 5.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists for the Lynx.
Chicago is 1-5 in its last six meetings with Minnesota. The Sky's lone win came last July, 90-83, at home.