Eight was certainly enough for the Chicago Sky.
Thanks to Sylvia Fowles.
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The Sky's 6-foot-6 all-star center more than made up for the fact that the roster has been depleted by injuries and the rotation stood at just eight active players for Friday's game against the visiting Washington Mystics at Allstate Arena.
Big Syl rolled up 32 big points and 15 big rebounds and 5 big blocks in leading the first-place Sky to an 85-78 victory over the Mystics. The win moves the Sky to 13-5 overall and provides a one-game cushion in the Eastern Conference standings over the second-place Atlanta Dream.
"With three of us down right now, you just want to go out there and step up for your teammates as much as possible," said Fowles, who was just 3 points shy of her career-high of 35 points set in 2010. "You prepare yourself all week for this, you hear about (being down players) all week in practice so you're just trying to do extra.
"We've been in this position before, so it's not like it's wearing on us. But it does get mindboggling at a certain point. But you've just got to keep your cool and go out there and do what you can do."
The Sky is playing without backups Carolyn Swords (knee) and Sharnee Zoll-Norman (thumb) and most notably star rookie forward Elena Delle Donne, who suffered a concussion against the Mystics in the last regular season game before the July 27 all-star game. Delle Donne, who was the top all-star vote-getter, was forced to miss the all-star game and has been resting for the last week. She is progressing nicely in her recovery and should be ready to return soon, although likely not for today's game in Indianapolis against the Indiana Fever.
"I'm feeling great. I just have to continue to progress," said Delle Donne, who leads the Sky in scoring at 18.2 points per game. "I'll be playing soon. I've been trying to pass all the (medical) tests in one day to get back, but the doctors say that's probably not good for me. They're holding me back a little bit because you've got to be smart."
In the meantime, Delle Donne, wearing street clothes on the bench, enjoyed watching Fowles step up in her absence.
"Syl had a monstrous game, there really was no denying her today," Delle Donne said. "It was great and it was exactly what we needed to step up and get the win. It's so effortless. She was completely dominating the game both offensively and defensively. It was fun to watch."
The Sky broke open a tie game at halftime (44-44) by going on a 10-0 run midway through the third quarter. Now, 8-1 at home, the Sky also got 13 points from forward Tamera Young, who was starting in place of Delle Donne, and 10 points from forward Swin Cash.
Point guard Courtney Vandersloot added 9 points and 9 assists to go with just 2 turnovers.
"I'll take that all day from Courtney," said Sky coach Pokey Chatman, who will add another post player to the roster prior to today's game in Indiana. "I just think it was good to have a good win under some adversity. I mean, eight players. It was nice to see our players respond."
Washington, which defeated the Sky in that game just before the all-star break, was led by guard Matee Ajavon, who scored 19 points. The Mystics drop to 9-11 on the season.