Throughout the course of the 2016 WNBA season, the Chicago Sky had one of the league’s most prolific offenses. They finished second in the league in offensive rating (107.0) and three-point shooting (36.8 percent), and third in field-goal percentage (46.2 percent). But they saved their best performance for Sunday afternoon, as they poured in bucket after bucket on the way to a 108-98 victory over the Atlanta Dream in their single-elimination second round game.
Of course, a large part of the Sky’s success on the offensive end this season came from the reigning MVP, second-leading scorer in the league, Elena Delle Donne. Yet if you were watching the Sky for the first time, you would never have known this was a team missing their best player. Perhaps it was the fact that the Sky practiced all Olympic break without EDD, or maybe they’ve just quickly adjusted to the loss over the last few games of the regular season. Either way, Cappie Pondexter and company had no problem putting the ball in the basket.
Pondexter scored 16 points herself, but it was Courtney Vandersloot’s 21 and Jessica Breland’s 20 that lead the way for the Sky. It truly was a team performance, as all 10 players who entered the game scored for the Sky.
Pondexter touched on that after the game, saying, “I think people tend to forget that basketball is a team sport. It’s not necessarily about one player…(Elena Delle Donne) is our face, she is a superstar, she’s a great all-around player, but that’s what makes basketball special.”
She continued, “There are so many wonderful players out here…You had Jessica Breland with a double-double, you had [Courtney] Vandersloot with a double-double, and it was beautiful to see.”
On top of being beautiful, the Sky’s performance was also historic. The 108 points were a playoff record for the franchise, and also tied the WNBA record for most points scored in a playoff game that did not go into overtime. Furthermore, the 37 points the Sky scored in the first quarter set a WNBA postseason record for the most points scored in a single quarter.
It was simply an unbelievable offensive showcase, as the Sky made it clear that regardless of whether or not EDD is in the lineup, they’re still one of the league’s premier teams.
Or, as Pondexter put it following the win, “I think we definitely made a statement.”
*All quotes via Chicago Sky game notes*