Sky Burn the Sun
It was a great night for the Sky frontcourt as the team beat another mid-season conference opponent to record their third straight win and their tenth victory of the season, taking down the Connecticut Sun 83-70 on the road.
Despite 14 turnovers and a sloppy third quarter, the Sky put together a strong shooting night, going 47 percent from the floor, 44 percent from three-point range and an impressive 95 percent from the free-throw line.
Both teams got high production from their star players. Reigning league MVP Tina Charles contributed over 50 percent of the Sunís scoring in the first half and finished with 29 points and six rebounds. Elena Delle Donne, whoís getting some early MVP talk of her own, led the Sky with 23 points. The rookie guard/forward also grabbed five rebounds and shot 9-for-9 from the free-throw line.
The Skyís other big girls also finished in double-figures. Forward Swin Cash put up a season-high 19 points along with eight rebounds and one block. Center Sylvia Fowles, coming off her sixth double-double performance of the season earlier this week, finished two rebounds shy of her seventh (14 points, eight rebounds).
Though the Skyís backcourt didnít put up huge scoring numbers, guards Epiphanny Prince (11 points) and Courtney Vandersloot combined for 13 assists, finding their teammates with difficult and sometimes stylish passes.
The Sky raced to a 12-0 start in the first quarter, thanks to energetic defense and long jump shots from Vandersloot, Prince and Delle Donne. Later, Fowles also got in on the action with a jump hook shot and transition layup off a steal from Vandersloot. Connecticut went 0-for-10 in the first few minutes, allowing the Sky to maintain a double-digit lead for most of the quarter.
Sky fans held their breath for a moment at the 3:41 mark in the first quarter when Fowles limped off the floor. The center rolled her ankle going for a loose ball but returned in the second quarter like she never missed a beat.
The Sun played the Sky more closely in the second quarter, thanks to the steady play of guard and floor general Kara Lawson. Six straight points from Charles drove a scoring spurt for the Sun, but the Sky answered with timely three-point shots from Delle Donne and Prince to put them up 15 point at the halftime break.
Both teams had a slow start coming out of the locker room, but Cash got the Sky going and knocked down a three-pointer to put her team up by 20 points. Later in the quarter, Delle Donne whipped a nice no-look pass to Cash under the basket.
Sloppy ball-handling and another offensive spurt from the Sun cut Chicagoís lead to 11 points at the end of the third, but Charles and Connecticut couldnít quite get enough going in the fourth
quarter to challenge the Sky. Despite 13 points from forward Mistie Bass, the Sun spent nearly the first four minutes of the quarter without a field goal, and scoring from the Skyís Delle Donne and Tamera Young (eight points, four rebounds) kept the game out of reach for the home team.
Another conference win narrows the gap between the Sky (10-4) and first place Atlanta Dream (10-2). The Sky get a few days back home before traveling to New York to take on the Liberty for a morning matchup on Thursday, July 18 at 10:00 a.m CST. Two days later, both teams meet again at Allstate Arena on Saturday, July 20 at 7:00 p.m. Both games can be seen on WNBA LiveAccess.