For the first time all season, the Chicago Sky's Elena Delle Donne ended the first quarter with zero points on Tuesday night against Atlanta. However, a slow first quarter would not stop Delle Donne and the Sky from overpowering the Dream, 97-92 in an offensive battle.
Despite not scoring in the first quarter, Delle Donne would end the night leading all scorers with 27. Her teammate Allie Quigley would contribute 23, and Courtney Vandersloot would chip in 19. Matee Ajavon led the Dream with 21 points from the bench.
"I felt like I was getting really good looks, and my shot felt good, so I knew I was going to continue to be aggressive," Delle Donne said. "Obviously Angel [McCoughtry] was in foul trouble, as well, and I knew she was going to be guarding me in the second half so I just attacked the rim and saw the ball go in that way.
"Then I got a little more confidence in my outside shot."
The Sky would lead for most of the first quarter, but behind the tough offensive play of Ajavon the Dream would tie the score four times in the second quarter. After a three-pointer from Tiffany Hayes that would give Atlanta a 38-35 edge, the Sky would not lead again for the first half.
The Dream were having very few issues scoring and upheld a 57.6 field goal percentage while at the same time holding Delle Donne to just one field goal.
As Delle Donne would come to life in the opening seconds of the third quarter, however, so would Chicago. Three quick jumpers from Delle Donne combined by two from Quigley would give the Sky a 57-54 lead, and they would never look back. But it was Chicago's defense that got their offense going.
"Holding them to 14 points in that quarter really helped get us some momentum," Sky head coach and general manager Pokey Chatman said. "Even when it was back and forth we never let a lack of defense or them getting buckets affect us offensively to the tune of four players being in high double figures.
"That is something that fuels us. All in all, a nice win going into this break against a good Atlanta team."
Despite the Dream's high powered and well-rounded offense, (they recorded 20 team assists, compared to Chicago's 11) there was no answer for Delle Donne who scored 21 of her 27 points in the final 20 minutes of play. Atlanta wouldn't get within three points of Chicago for the entirety of the fourth quarter.
To go along with the high scoring, the Sky also out-rebounded the Dream, 33-25. Dream head coach Michael Cooper agreed that rebounding was a big factor in the loss.
"When you win the rebounding war most of the time you're going to win the game," Cooper said. "We didn't do that well; I thought they outhustled us."
The Sky are now 11-6, and only one of their losses has come at home.
"We're in a great place," Delle Donne said. "I'm really happy with our offense. I feel like any given night somebody can step up and go off. Defensively, we're getting there, and I think we're going to peak at the right time."