Although her team isn’t going to the playoffs, Courtney Vandersloot sure loves finding ways to keep the Sky in the conversation. Her performance was the highlight of the night, but here’s what happened in all of Tuesday’s games.
Connecticut Sun 96, Dallas Wings 76
What once seemed like a fairly straightforward task for the Wings — win most of your games and make the playoffs — is now a distant memory. Dallas lost its ninth-straight game Tuesday night, meaning the ninth-place Las Vegas Aces now just need to win their game on Wednesday to pull even for the eighth seed in the playoffs.
Leading the Sun in the rout were Jonquel Jones’ season-high 27 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, Chiney Ogwumike’s 13 points and Morgan Tuck’s 12 points, also off the bench. Connecticut shot 52.2 percent and nearly reached 100 points for the third time in five games.
Although Liz Cambage made her return for the Wings after missing some time due to injury, the double-figures efforts from four Wings players weren’t enough to pick up the rest of the team, as Dallas went on to shoot just 38.2 percent. Allisha Gray’s 18 points led the way, followed by Skylar Diggins-Smith’s 17 points and 8 assists and Liz Cambage’s 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Chicago Sky 91, Minnesota Lynx 88
Courtney Vandersloot broke the WNBA single-season assists record and sunk two key free throws at the end of the game to lead the Sky to the season series victory over the Lynx, who remain in the seventh-seed position. Although the Sky have been out of playoff contention for several games, they were clearly playing for pride — and maybe some bragging rights — in Tuesday night’s matchup in Minneapolis.
Leading the Sky were Diamond DeShields, who exploded for a career-high (and game-high) 28 points, Vandersloot’s 16 points and 10 assists and Allie Quigley’s 13 points. Cheyenne Parker added 10 points off the bench on 80 percent shooting, as the Sky went on to make 54.8 percent of their shots. Vandersloot’s 10 assists pushed her to 241 on the season, breaking Ticha Penicheiro’s 2000 record of 236 assists.
Maya Moore led the Lynx with 21 points, Sylvia Fowles had 19 points to go with 13 rebounds and Seimone Augustus scored 14 points. With that effort, Fowles became the sixth player in WNBA history to eclipse the 3,000-rebound mark for her career. While Minnesota shot a respectable 46.5 percent, they faltered somewhat from the free-throw line and missed some key shots down the stretch, including a last-second three attempt that was blocked.
Los Angeles Sparks 74, New York Liberty 66
Despite a valiant effort on New York’s part, the Sparks were able to pull away from the Liberty and escape a late-season upset. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Sparks and pulled them into a tie for the fourth seed with the Sun.
Chelsea Gray led all scorers with 26 points for Los Angeles, a new career-high. Nneka Ogwumike added 20 points and 8 rebounds, while Candace Parker had 14 points to go with 10 rebounds. The Sparks shot just 36.7 percent in the win, with the aforementioned players the only ones to score more than 4 points.
Although the Liberty had a few late leads, they weren’t able to seal the deal as the game winded down. Tina Charles led the way with 21 points and 7 rebounds, Kia Vaughn had 11 points and 8 rebounds and Bria Hartley added 10 points off the bench. The Liberty were playing with an incredibly short bench due to injuries, so to their credit, every player who saw playing time scored.