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Recap: Diamond DeShields sparkles in big Sky win over Taurasi-free Phoenix

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DeWanna Bonner’s game-high 30 points were not enough to keep the Chicago Sky from a dominant 101-87 win.

Diamond DeShields takes to the sky over Phoenix during winning affair for Chicago, on the road, on July 25, 2018 at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Barry Gossage (NBAE/Getty Images).

On Tuesday afternoon, the Chicago Sky saw an opportunity to get a win over a weakened club, seized it — and then some.

The Phoenix Mercury already were struggling after Sancho Lyttle went down with an ACL injury last month that ended her season and left a gaping hole in the team’s defense. Without Diana Taurasi (suspension) and Leilani Mitchell (personal), plus a Brittney Griner who is not 100% (back), the Mercury simply could not contend against an opportunistic Sky.

Here are the key takeaways from the game:

Skyward

  • Diamond DeShields was the team-high scorer for the Sky with 25 points. She also grabbed 5 rebounds, dished 4 assists and nicked 1 steal.
  • All-Star Allie Quigley went for 19 points, 4 assists and 1 steal. On Saturday, Quigley will defend her three-point shooting title at the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game.
  • Courtney Vandersloot, who was snubbed from All-Star honors, tallied another double-double with 17 points and 11 assists. She also grabbed 3 rebounds, blocked 1 shot and grabbed 1 steal.
  • The other double-digit scorers for the Sky were Stefanie Dolson, who added 13 points, and Cheyenne Parker, coming off the bench, scored 10 points and grabbed 9 rebounds for a near double-double.
  • As if the individual performances were not enough, the Sky, as a team, beat the Mercury handily in the following areas of the box score: assists (27-13), rebounds (34-30) and blocks (8-2).

Ash-bound

  • With Taurasi suspended one game for reaching seven technical fouls on the season, DeWanna Bonner stepped up big to pick up the scoring load, leading all scorers with 30 points.
  • With rebounding and blocking behemoth Griner not feeling 100% — evidenced in her uncharacteristically low 2 rebounds and 0 blocks — Bonner stepped up on the defensive end also, grabbing 13 rebounds to lead all rebounders for the game.
  • But the Mercury came up short because the only other double-digit scorers were Briann January, who put up 20 points, and Griner, who added 12.
  • A hard foul to Dolson in the third quarter was upgraded to flagrant 2 after review, leading to Griner’s ejection. It was her second of the season, with the first being a Dolson/Sky situation as well.
  • The glimmers of hope for Phoenix moving forward are: 1) January who, after scoring in single digits most of the season, dropped a career-high 20 points and 2) Stephanie Talbot, with the starters, tallied 9 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Next up ...

The following players (and coach Sandy Brondello) head to Minneapolis for the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game: For the Sky, Allie Quigley, who will be defending her title as reigning three-point shooting queen. For the Mercury, Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner.