Courtney Vandersloot came into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals having been dominated by Indiana Fever guard Briann January in Game 1, scoring just 4 points on 1-for-4 shooting while allowing 19 points.
Game 2 was a different story.
Vandersloot had a performance reminiscent of her college days at Gonzaga, showing poise and well-timed changes of pace with the ball in her hands to get into the paint where she could create for herself and others. Although she didn't shoot particularly well (5-for-12), her aggression in attacking the defense off the dribble helped her score a career playoff-high of 18 points on the strength of 8-for-8 free throw shooting.
"Pound-for-pound she is the toughest player," Sky coach Pokey Chatman said after the game, according to a Sky release. "That's not me saying it, that's what her teammates voted. So you saw that physical toughness, today you saw a mental toughness in terms of a little bit of foul trouble but when she was in there and she was still effective. She's looking to the basket and attacking. She's giving up inches and pounds. She's crafty around the basket. We trust her and we kept the ball in her hands. I'm not surprised. I'm just proud she was able to bring it home for us."
Despite the low field goal percentage (41.7%), the free throws that came as a result of her attacking mentality helped her to a great true shooting percentage of 57.98%. That complemented her efficiency as a distributor where her 5 assists and 1 turnover in 41 minutes resulted a pure point rating of 5.69.
Overall, that's an example of the type of player that Chatman probably thought she was getting when she drafted Vandersloot back in 2011: a complete point guard who can both run the offense and score efficiently enough to complement their big 6-foot-6 center who's doing damage inside.
"This is the first time we've all been together," Vandersloot said about her team overcoming a 14-point deficit in the first half. "It finally feels like such a unit out there that no matter what happens we still have each other, we still have us and we're still going to fight. We know that we have the talent on this roster to come back from anything."
The Sky are finally starting to realize their full potential for the first time in franchise history and that could be scary for everyone else.
For more on the game and the series, check out our Fever vs. Sky storystream.