The game plan for most WNBA coaches when playing the Sky would be the following: force the ball out of Elena Delle Donne's hands, and make someone else beat you. But when other players step up, and Delle Donne finds other ways to contribute, sometimes even the best laid plans go awry.
Such was the case tonight, as the Delle Donne shot 4-14 from the floor, but Chicago still found a way to win on a rare off night from the league's highest scorer, even after Indiana led after each of the first three quarters.
Elena Delle Donne struggled from early on, only scoring four points in the first half, her only field goal coming off a buzzer beater layup at the end of the second quarter. Still, she managed to impact the game in other ways, getting three steals, three blocks, and three assists, while notching her fourth consecutive double-double with 14 rebounds.
Pokey Chatman liked the way her team adjusted to their star player's off night, saying, "It was nice to see us play off of Elena Delle Donne. You know she's been putting up crazy numbers so they sent a double team. And it was nice to see my team make some reads and get [the ball] to open players."
Cappie Pondexter led the way with 23 points for the Sky, while Allie Quigley pitched in with 17 of her own. The two were a force in the first quarter, scoring 12 straight Chicago points. For Pondexter, it was a night to show what that she is capable of taking the lead offensively.
She said of her performance, "My skill set was able to come alive today. I just focused in. I know what the team needed me to do, make some shots."
Chicago took the lead behind some strong offensive play from Tamika Catchings and Marissa Coleman, all while executing their defensive game plan and forcing up tough shots from Chicago.
But the Sky came alive on both ends of the floor near the end of the game. Defensively, they allowed the Fever only 2 made field goals in the fourth, one being Marissa Coleman's three-pointer to open the quarter. Indiana only scored 9 points during the final quarter.
Indiana had trouble with ball control throughout the game, turning the ball over 18 times with five of those coming in the fourth. Fever coach Stephanie White was disappointed in their ability to hold onto the ball.
"You shoot yourself in the foot with 18 turnovers for 17 points and stop moving the ball in the second half," said White. Indiana only had two assists in the last two quarters.
Meanwhile, strong play from the Sky's two leaders, Delle Donne and Pondexter, resulted in the two scoring 17 of the team's last 22 points.
The win keeps Chicago undefeated against Indiana with their third win in a row, and the Sky find their away record at .500 for the first time this season. After Wednesday's overtime victory against Atlanta, they've won three games in a row; Chicago will look to extend that streak even further on Sunday against the Mystics.
The Fever fall to 3-6, losing their second consecutive game, despite Coleman's stellar 4-5 performance from the three-point line. It was a bounce back game for her, after shooting 2-9 in Indiana's last game against the Mystics, when she didn't hit a shot from behind the line. She will try to build on her hot hand tonight Washington heads to Indiana on Sunday for a rematch.