ROSEMONT, IL — The Chicago Sky soared to new heights, racking up an extraordinary 108 points in its win against the Atlanta Dream Sunday. The Sky matched the most points ever in a WNBA playoff game.
The Sky — led by Courtney Vandersloot with 21 points and 13 assists — held tight to the lead throughout the game, never giving up their lead as they won their WNBA Round 2 elimination game, 108-98 against Atlanta. Jessica Breland and Tamera Young also did their part with 20 and 16 points, respectively — it was this team effort that earned Chicago the win.
“I think first and foremost, it was a collective effort by every player on this team,” said Chicago Head Coach Pokey Chatman. “Atlanta’s a really long, athletic team that causes some problems for you with athleticism and size and aggressiveness, and I thought that never bothered us.”
It was confidence, she said, that was a deciding factor in the Sky’s victory.
“So we got into a rhythm offensively, and then when they challenged us we were able to have enough confidence to weather the storm,” said Chatman.
Although Chicago shined on both ends of the floor, the team didn’t have it easy going into Sunday’s matchup. To claim victory against the Dream, the Sky needed to power through the devastating loss of superstar forward Elena Delle Donne, who has been out since Sept. 8 as a result of a thumb injury. If Atlanta had any chance to beat the Sky, Sunday’s game was its best shot.
Unfortunately for Atlanta, Chicago never gave them that chance.
Early into the game, the Sky zoomed ahead early in the first quarter with an 8-0 lead against the Dream. With fast plays and sharp shooting, Chicago’s momentum continued throughout the first quarter, thanks to a brilliant team effort and stellar offense.
Vandersloot did her part with 11 points in the first, helping secure her team an early lead to put Chicago ahead 35-23 with 18 seconds left. The win seemed within an arm’s length reach for the Sky, as the Dream seemed flat.
But Atlanta would not give up their playoff dream so easily.
Led by star forward, Angel McCoughtry, the Dream picked up speed and fought back to decrease the gap. McCoughtry shined throughout the first half, scoring 21 of her 27 points, and helping Atlanta tighten the game to 56-50 at halftime.
However, when the Dream pushed back, the Sky pushed harder.
The second half proved to be the defining moment for Chicago, who reclaimed its double-digits lead early into the third quarter. With laser focus, the Sky widened their lead to an impressive 17-point gap. Allie Quigley clinched a final two at the buzzer to end the third quarter to bring the Sky up 87-70 going into the fourth quarter.
Atlanta’s Tiffany Hayes—who finished with a game-high 30 points—fought hard for the Dream. But even Hayes’ star power could not surpass Chicago playing their best game of the season.
Chicago will take on the Los Angeles Sparks on Wednesday.