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updated: 7/12/2013 9:46 PM

Delle Donne leads Sky over Sun 83-70

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  • Chicago Sky's Elena Delle Donne, right, drives to the basket while being guarded by Connecticut Sun's Allison Hightower during the first half of a WNBA basketball game in Uncasville, Conn., Friday, July 12, 2013.

      Chicago Sky's Elena Delle Donne, right, drives to the basket while being guarded by Connecticut Sun's Allison Hightower during the first half of a WNBA basketball game in Uncasville, Conn., Friday, July 12, 2013.

 
Associated Press

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Sylvia Fowles spent her first five seasons with the Chicago Sky enduring one losing season after another.

Fowles has been able to smile a lot more this season.

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Rookie Elena Delle Donne had 23 points and five rebounds, and Chicago scored the game's first 12 points and went on to beat the Connecticut Sun 83-70 on Friday.

Swin Cash had 19 points and eight rebounds for the Sky (10-4), and Fowles had 14 points and eight rebounds. Epiphanny Prince added 11 points and six assists, while Courtney Vandersloot had seven assists and four steals for Chicago, which has won six of seven.

"Over the past few years, it's been frustrating, but it's always been fun," Fowles said. "I can say this has been one of the most fun years I've ever had."

Tina Charles scored 29 points for the Sun (3-9). Reserve Mistie Bass scored 13 points. The Sun have lost six of seven.

Connecticut missed its first 10 shots and Chicago grabbed the early lead. Allison Hightower scored the Sun's first points 4:14 into the game.

The Sky led 50-35 at the half and cruised to the win.

Chicago has never had a winning season and has qualified for the playoffs just once in its seven seasons.

Fowles credited Delle Donne, the second overall pick in this year's draft, for being a key to the turnaround.

"We have a sense of urgency this year, plus adding a pretty good player," Fowles chuckled. "Elena has a big part to do with (the winning). For us to officially have a true 4, she brings a lot. She's a threat. It makes everything else click."

Delle Donne has averaged 19.1 points. The only players who've averaged more points are Olympians Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury and Angel McCoughtry of the Atlanta Dream.

"I expected wins," Delle Donne said. "I knew this was a great team, and I really felt like we had all the pieces to the puzzle. I didn't know how soon it would come together, but I did expect big things from this team.

"It's a great team. Awesome coaching staff. Put that together and you get some wins."

Connecticut, meanwhile, is enduring its worst start in history. It trailed by double digits nearly the entire game. It was behind by as much as 22 points (83-61) with over two minutes left in the game.

"Chicago (came out aggressive)," Charles said. "They threw that first punch, and we were just trying to get back into the game."

Sun starting guard Kara Lawson returned Friday night after missing the previous four games to a bruised knee.

Reserve guard Renee Montgomery, last year's WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year, has missed nine games for Connecticut due to a high ankle sprain. Tan White, another reserve guard, hasn't played in eight games after breaking a finger in practice.

Prince made two free throws less than a minute into the game. Cash and Fowles followed with back-to-back layups. Fowles' hook shot gave the Sky an 8-0 lead a little more than two minutes into the game.

Cash made two free throws after a Sun timeout. Vandersloot's 20-foot jumper extended Chicago's lead to 12-0.

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