Rosemont, IL -- With just under six minutes left in the third quarter, Minnesota Lynx center and constant double-double getter, Sylvia Fowles, cut to the basket and went up for a layup, her team uncharacteristically trailing by 14 points to the Chicago Sky.
Fowles had that shot blocked by forward Jessica Breland, the ball squirted out to guard Courtney Vandersloot, who then chucked a touchdown pass the length of the court to a streaking Allie Quigley. Quigley’s layup put the Sky up 16.
It was that kind of night for Chicago as they beat the Lynx 100-76. Vandersloot led all scorers with 26 points, 13 assists, and seven rebounds. She was dominant from the jump and put up 11 points in the first quarter.
After the game Sky head coach, Amber Stocks insisted, despite Vandersloot’s offensive explosion, that she always feels confident in her point guard and team’s ability to get good offensive looks.
“The continuity and the confidence I feel with Courtney I feel no matter what her stat line looks like,” Stocks said. “The way that we move the ball allows any given player to step up and have a high number of assists because we put a high emphasis on next pass.”
But it wasn’t just the offense that powered the Sky to a convincing victory over the WNBA’s best team Saturday night. Chicago’s team defense, aggressiveness and willingness to make hustle plays were all factors in the win.
“We were tenacious and stayed on the attack mode,” Stocks said.
The Sky limited Maya Moore to just eight points in the game. Fowles finished with 13 points and six rebounds. Stocks credited forward Tamera Young for keeping Fowles off the boards.
“[Young] did a fabulous job of harassing and containing,” Stocks said. “She earned three rebounds but what you don’t see [on the stat sheet] is how many rebounds she prevented her opponent from earning.”
It’s possible the Lynx, who still sit atop the Western Conference with the league’s best record, were worn out from their game Thursday against conference rival and last year’s Finals opponent the Los Angeles Sparks.
For Chicago, though, Saturday was a moment for their team to move forward and continue to grow.
“This is something we can build off, continue to get better and it showed ourselves and everyone out there how good we could be,” Vandersloot said.
“We can guard the best offensive team in the league and hold them to ten points [in the third quarter],” Vandersloot added. “If we can do that every game we’re going to win a lot of games.”
For the Sky that starts next Wednesday with a matinee at home against the Dallas Wings. Meanwhile, the Lynx will have six days off to regroup and move west. They’ll face the Phoenix Mercury next Friday.