A rebounding advantage. Check.
A higher shooting percentage. Check.
Balanced scoring. Check.
Theatrics. Nope. Not this time.
While the drama that has been punctuating recent games wasn’t there Wednesday night, nearly everything else that the Sky could have hoped for was.
The Sky didn’t need another Epiphanny Prince buzzer-beater to get a victory over the Seattle Storm at Allstate Arena.
That’s because a breezy 74-58 victory was pieced together bit by bit from start to finish with tough rebounding, hot shooting and double-figure scoring from four players, including Prince with 17 points and Sylvia Fowles with 16.
With the win, the 7-1 Sky take over sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference. Heading into the game, the Sky was tied with the Connecticut Sun for the top spot, but the Sun got knocked off at home by the Los Angeles Sparks 87-81.
“It’s very good to win like … that,” sighed center Sylvia Fowles, suggesting that the Sky is extra appreciative of a relatively comfortable win after its string of 3 come-from-behind victories in the last week that included both buzzer-beaters and overtimes.
“The coaches were really stressing getting off to a good start and we were able to do that this time,” Fowles continued. “Everybody played their part tonight. It was fun to watch.”
For Fowles, who slightly tweaked her ankle but was back in the game after the trainer retaped it, her part also included rebounding at a dizzying pace.
She hit her gaudy, league-leading average by pulling down 15 big boards. That gave her a record-breaking eighth straight double-double, and it also helped the Sky finish with an eye-popping 44-21 overall rebounding advantage.
On the offensive end, the Storm had just 3 offensive rebounds compared to 18 for the Sky.
Meanwhile, the Sky outshot Seattle from the field, 44 percent to 38 percent. The Storm had the hardest time finding the basket down the stretch, scoring just 8 points in the fourth quarter.
“We made them work for everything,” said Sky coach Pokey Chatman, who has guided her team to the best start in franchise history and a record-breaking 6 straight wins. “We needed a win like this, a solid win that’s not glamorous but just solid.”
The Sky, which never trailed, got up by as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter.
Tamera Young came off the bench and put together her third straight game of scoring in double figures. She had 12 points for the Sky, while Ruth Riley added 10 points.
“I feel good about where we’re at and how we’re getting it done. But I’m not satisfied just yet. I’m kind of greedy,” Fowles said with a laugh.
“I say that because this all can change any night. We’ve got to keep going with this.”
For Seattle (1-7), which dropped its sixth straight on the road and its fourth in a row overall, Tina Thompson scored 13 points and Ann Wauters had 12.
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