Seattle, WA -- The Chicago Sky dominated the floor almost immediately, grabbing a huge lead over the Storm in the first quarter alone. With the incredible athleticism of Elena Delle Donne and scoring power of Courtney Vandersloot, the two combined 20 of the team's 36 points in the first quarter. Chicago closed the quarter at 36-14, it was apparent that the Sky came to brew the storm.
Delle Donne kept her momentum up going into the second, maintaining her sheer dominance on the court driving the ball to the basket and drawing the fouls.
"She was excellent in her decision making," said Head Coach Pokey Chatman. "I thought she played extremely well on both ends of the floor."
Seattle struggled to match Chicago's scoring momentum, attempting 36 shot in the first half with only 11 of them made it within the rim. In addition, nearly all of their three-point attempts fell short. Top scorers Stewart and Loyd were struggling to find a rhythm, which only hurt the team attempt after attempt.
With seconds remaining, Bird was able to finally sink a three following three scoreless minutes. However, Chicago kept their momentum alive outscoring the Storm, holding onto a solid lead going into the second half.
With some time to recuperate, Stewart knew that something needed to change, and she took corrective action going into the third. In the first two minutes of the quarters, Stewart drove to the basket collecting five points, forcing the Sky to call a timeout. After this, it was a whole new ball game.
"I told them at halftime, I couldn't even adjust anything technically until we started getting the energy that we needed to play with," said Storm Head Coach Jenny Boucek. "We started the game really flat and let them get comfortable, let them get hot, and then we had a huge hole that we had to try to dig our way out of, and I was pleased with the effort on the comeback."
Seattle's offense finally clicked, and their defense planted a roadblock to slow down Chicago's drive. With another three by Bird, you couldn't even hear yourself think in Key Arena with the roar of the crowd. Collecting 18 points in the first five minutes, the Storm closed their 24-point deficit to 14. And at the end of the quarter? Closed it in even more to trail the Sky by 10 points.
Chicago was not ready to go down and give up everything that they worked hard for in the first half. They picked right back up in the crucial final quarter, going on an aggressive 6-0 run. Stewart and Clark immediately responded with back-to-back layups, keeping us on the edge our seats not knowing who was going to come out on top.
With a minute left to go, it was a seven-point game, and the intensity could not have been higher. Stewart and Bird turned way up grabbing two consecutive shots, putting the score at 88-85 with 53 seconds to go. And with 18 seconds remaining, Bird dropped a monstrous three to tie the two teams.
With hearts racing in the final seconds, the ball was handed to Delle Donne to make the final shot attempt. And with 0.9 seconds on the shot clock, Delle Donne did what she does best - swooshed the ball from downtown to ultimately take the game-winning shot. With a pleased smirk, she knew it was game over.
"I knew the play was going to get me in that position, and I wanted to make sure the clock went down enough where they wouldn't be able to run a play if we scored or if we missed," said Delle Donne. "I just felt confident, was able to get into a rhythm and let it fly, and it felt great to see it go in because we really needed that win."
Following the incredible shot by Delle Donne, The Chicago Sky edged the Seattle Storm in the most entertaining game yet, 91-88.
Delle Donne closed the night with 35 points, 11 rebounds followed by Pondexter and Parker both with 15 points apiece.
Bird was the leading scorer for the Storm with 24 points, followed by Stewart with 22 points. Loyd closed the night with a double-double 12 points, 10 rebounds.