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Quigley, Vandersloot rescue Sky in slugfest against Fever

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While the WNBA MVP, Elena Delle Donne, struggled somewhat, her teammates picked her up. Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot pushed the Chicago Sky past the Fever in Game 1.

Chris Poss

Chicago, IL -- The first WNBA playoff match-up started out strong for the Chicago Sky with the support of their home crowd, as they grabbed their first playoff win of the postseason over the Indiana Fever.

The Sky's Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot took over the first quarter, scoring eight points apiece, including two big shots by Quigley and an overhand shot from under the basket by Vandersloot to close out the first.

Chicago dominated the first with their biggest lead of nine points and went into the second quarter with a buzzer-beating rebound shot and a lead of 24-15. The recent 2015 WNBA MVP, Chicago's Elena Delle Donne posted no points in the first.

The second quarter was a different story as Indiana closed the gap, including two free throws with under a minute left, made by Indiana's Marissa Coleman. The Fever outscored a struggling Sky 20-12 in the period, falling short of the Sky by just one going into the half, 36-35.

Delle Donne responded out of halftime and ended up scoring 7 of her 9 points in the third. With a big fadeaway shot by Quigley, she led the team with 15 points and 3 assists going into the fourth.

The Fever got the lead back 8:06 left in the fourth 56-54 with a three-pointer by Coleman.

Stuffed between Indiana's Briann January and Coleman, Quigley squeezed in an unbelievable shot, making it 58-57 with under seven minutes left in the fourth. The Sky quickly took back the lead and Quigley threw on another two points to grab a lead of 61-58.

The Fever picked up their defensive intensity, but Vandersloot answered with a deep three to take back a back-and-forth lead and erupt the Chicago crowd.

Indiana's Tamika Catchings nailed a wide open three and two free throws to tie the game at 71, as the fourth quickly came to an end.

Even with a Delle Donne turnover and Dos Santos missing her free throws near the end of the fourth, the Sky held onto a 77-72 win over the Fever.

"It becomes a game of adjustments and a game of runs and a couple of the adjustments we wanted to make at the half was we thought that Indiana dictated the pace," said Sky Head Coach Pokey Chatman. "They were getting out in transition a lot and also, we thought we turned the ball over quite a bit and we didn't attack to the tune of only shooting one free throw."

The MVP Delle Donne had a stronger second half with 14 points.

"I trust every single person on this team and instead of taking a forced shot," said Delle Donne. "I'd rather give it to somebody who's maybe a little bit more open and they'll knock it down. We won. That's all that matters. If I have zero points, zero rebounds, and we come out with a W, that's all I care about.

"Clearly, this team is why I won MVP this year and that showed out there and it will continue to show throughout this playoffs."

Quigley, who just accepted her second consecutive Sixth Woman of the Year award, led her team with 20 points and 6 assists, while Vandersloot was close behind with 19 points and 5 assists.

"Personally, it means that all your hard work has paid off and it is nice to be recognized," said a humbled Quigley. "But honestly, it's really hard not to think about your teammates when you have these awards because you know it's not possible without them. Really, it's not."

Catchings led the Fever with 21 points and 4 assists.

The Chicago Sky face the Indiana Fever in Indianapolis on Sat., Sept. 19 for the second game of this playoffs series.