The Minnesota Lynx, one of the WNBA's hottest teams down the stretch, will finally have a chance to make a statement in the playoffs when they host the Chicago Sky on Sunday afternoon in a single-elimination second-round playoff game in Minneapolis, Minn.
One of the league's top two teams (Connecticut and Las Vegas) await the winner after earning double-byes into the semifinals, which will be a best-of-five series.
The sixth-seeded Sky advanced to the second round with an 81-64 win over Dallas on Thursday in one of the league's two single-elimination first-round games.
The Lynx, who finished at 22-10 and third in the regular-season standings, won nine of their final 10 games, including the final four straight, to earn a first-round bye and a game at home in the playoffs. Minnesota was 13-3 at home this season.
Things have not been all rosy for the Lynx this season, however. They've dealt with injuries, some early growing pains and the late arrival of Napheesa Collier from her stint playing in France.
"We've got some battle wounds, so to speak, and we were tested, all that good stuff," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "I'm not sure any of it means anything when we go on Sunday, but I think that's fair to say that we've been through some stuff."
Collier ended up leading Minnesota in scoring at 16.2 points per game, with Sylvia Fowles adding 16 points and 10.1 rebounds per outing. The Lynx finished the season with five players averaging double-figures in points per game.
In Chicago's first-round win over Dallas, Kahleah Copper led the way for Chicago with 23 points, 14 in the first half. Courtney Vandersloot scored 17, Allie Quigley added 15 points, and Candace Parker had 11 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and three steals for the Sky, but the win came with a bit of drama in the final 10 minutes.
Chicago led by as many as 21 points before halftime, but Dallas closed to within 55-52 early in the fourth period. That's when Vandersloot took charge for the Sky, scoring 11 points in the final quarter, nine of them in the final 2:27.
Chicago will be not be an easy out for the Lynx. The Sky have plenty of talented players with loads of playoff experience.
"We've toed the water of greatness so much this year, and we haven't quite gotten over it," Parker said. "We're a team that does things when we have to. Hopefully, we realize we still have to."
--Field Level Media