Chicago has been getting a lot of attention this season because of their star player Elena Delle Donne. Tonight, the Sky played without their all-star forward and suffered their third straight loss on the season to the New York Liberty 84-63.
The Liberty (15-6) have beaten the Sky (14-10) twice in the past five days to take a 2.5-game lead over their Eastern Conference foe in the standings. New York is currently on a three-game win streak and are beginning to realize their potential on the court.
New York guard Epiphany Prince found her groove early on and never let up. Prince has now combined to score 52 points over the last two games against her former team. Her 22 points tonight set the tone for the Liberty and allowed other players such as Kiah Stokes to contribute.
Stokes came off the bench to score a career-high 13 points, while adding 11 rebounds. Instead of relying on center Tina Charles, the Liberty consistently shared the ball and proved that they have the depth to be dangerous in the playoffs.
Chicago played admirably and started the game as if Delle Donne was not on the bench in a walking boot. Point Guard Courtney Vandersloot tried her best to guide the Sky's offensive attack. She consistently pushed the ball and had a game-high nine assists. Problem is, Chicago could not overcome Delle Donne's scoring or her knack for getting to the free throw line.
Delle Donne is the league's best free throw shooter and gets to the free throw line more than anyone else, tonight the Sky got to the line just five times. Cappie Pondexter did her best to replicate Delle Donne's scoring finishing the game with 23 points, but it wouldn't be enough.
The Liberty forced 17 turnovers and also had nine steals on the night. New York managed to shoot 50% from the field, while holding Chicago to just 40%.
New York's defense is the best in the league - holding opponents to just 70 points per game - and they took full advantage of a Chicago team missing its best player.
The Sky will wait and see how Delle Donne's ankle heals up and will look to rebound against Seattle on Friday.
The Liberty will look to add to their winning streak on Friday as well against the Connecticut Sun.