Sky Beats Connecticut

It was sunny skies for Chicago as the Sky got a first-ever franchise win against the Connecticut Sun, winning 87-74. In the teams’ previous meeting this season, on May 31, the Sky fell to the Sun in overtime (another franchise first). With the win, the Sky has a 6-5 record, giving the team more wins this season than all of last year. The team was 5-29 in its inaugural season. Candice Dupree lead the Sky with 28 points, scoring 13 in a monster fourth quarter, with the Sky outscoring the Sun 34-19.

“Candice Dupree is a true All-Star for our team,” said Sky forward Stacey Dales. “I can’t say enough about her performance tonight. She’s come in this season as a second-year veteran and does things that a six-year veteran can’t do.”

Stacey Dales had 17 points for the Sky and Dominique Canty added 14 points and 6 assists. Dupree and Chasity Melvin each had 8 rebounds and Melvin had 10 points. Rookie Armintie Price added 9 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.

Asjha Jones scored 22 points for the Sun and had 12 rebounds, tying her career-high. Lindsay Whalen added 12 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. The Sun out-rebounded the Sky 38-31, but had 19 turnovers to the Sky’s 8. With the loss, Connecticut has a four-game losing streak; it’s the first time they’ve lost four straight since July, 2002. The three previous losses were by a combined total of 12 points.

After a slow start, the Sky dominated the first quarter, outscoring the Sun 26-15, led by Stacey Dales with 10 points. The Sun didn’t stay down long and the Sky’s lead at the half was only six points, 40-34.

The Sun went on a 17-4 run after halftime to take a 51-44 lead with two minutes left in the quarter. At the end of three, the Sun led 55-53. Three minutes into the fourth, veteran Dominique Canty gave the Sky a one point lead with a 10-foot jumper. After a defensive stop on the other end of the court, Canty drove down the court for the lay-up and Dupree went on a tear, scoring 11 points.

““We played possession by possession, quarter by quarter, and got to the end and found ourselves in the middle of a game and we had some players step up and finish it out for us,” said Sky Head Coach Bo Overton. “Chasity made a couple of tough, physical finishes. She hadn’t made a play all game and I really thought she gritted her teeth, got in there and made a couple of big plays and it seemed our whole team settled down from there.”

Overton received his first technical foul of the season and the first of his WNBA career, for protesting a foul on Dupree in the second quarter. Sun Head Coach Mike Thibault was also called for a technical in the third.

The Sky has won five of its last seven games.

“The coaching staff is the big difference this season,” said Dupree. “Our coaches are so motivated; they are ready to go out and win every game. We have some great additions to the team, a lot of good rookies and we made a great trade to get Chasity Melvin, who definitely helps me on the inside.”

Dales agreed on the difference between this year and last year: “It’s night and day. We have put last year to rest. We have leadership this year and a group that believes, from our coaching staff to our players. We believe in each other and we have confidence in what we are trying to accomplish. We really want to get to the playoffs this year.”