Rosemont, IL -- The Chicago Sky opened their season with a 93-70 win over the Connecticut Sun. Unfortunately, 2015's MVP, Elena Delle Donne didn't play her season opener due to sickness. But the Sky didn't necessarily "need" her tonight. Everyone on the active roster put up points for Chicago.
"I like it. You can tell everyone put in the work to get better," Pondexter stated regarding the team's growth from last year. "You can see the improvement. We are all taking pride in being better defensively."
Chicago kept the lead the entire game and held Connecticut to nine field goals, while only shooting 29% from the field in the first half.
Sky guard, Jamierra Faulkner, was shifty and quick in tonight's game. Her defender, Jasmine Thomas, put a lot of pressure on her, but Faulkner knew how to answer to that.
With just a minute left in the half, Faulkner had the ball up top, Thomas stepped up and reached in to create pressure, the refs were just about to blow their whistle for jump ball, when Faulkner ripped the ball of out Thomas ' hands and threw a dime pass to forward Jessica Breland under the basket for two. Breland finished the half with six points.
Chicago's strategy was obviously to attack the paint. In the first half alone, almost half of their points (20) came from the paint. The Sky had 45 points going into the locker room. Chicago forced 14 fouls in just the first half, and the Sun only forced six fouls.
Connecticut came out of the locker room and wanted to prove a point. The Sun scored 33 of their 58 points in the third quarter alone, erupting to get back in the game with a tough Sky team.
Head Coach, Pokey Chatman, said that her team had a bad third quarter, but they were able to come out on top at the end. "We gave up plus thirty points in the third quarter, but we were able to bounce back and finish the game. So it's a lot of good things, but also a lot we still have to work on."
Chicago native, Morgan Tuck, played her first game in the pros in her hometown. She graduated from Bolingbrook High School (where I went) and won state there, as well as getting her number retired. She is a former UCONN Husky and a four-time NCAA champion.
"I wish I could have done more since we lost," said Morgan Tuck. "But I did everything I can, just trying to make improvements each day. So hopefully next game I'll be better." Tuck ended her first game with five points and seven rebounds in eighteen minutes of play.
She continued, "It was great to see my friends and family here. It was cool to know that they were out there watching."
With seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, Chicago's Jessica Breland blocked the Sun's shot and gathered it, passing the ball to Courtney Vandersloot. Vandersloot then gave a no-look pass down low to Tamera Young. Young finished with a right-handed lay-up and drew the foul. This play was the best highlight of the night; it was a beautiful execution.
The Chicago Sky was led by Vandersloot with 14 points, seven assists, and three rebounds. Not far behind her, Cappie Pondexter posted 13 points, two assist, and two rebounds.
Chicago looks to continue what they started when they take on the Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday, May 18th. Tipoff is at 11:30 am.