Most "welcome back" games involving the New York Liberty don't go very well for the Chicago Sky.
When Liberty guard Cappie Pondexter gets welcomed back to her old stomping grounds, she usually puts on a show. The former Chicago Marshall star has had a habit in recent years of putting up tons of points and hitting game-changing daggers when the Sky plays host.
Contact information ( * required )
It looked like that would happen again on Wednesday afternoon as Pondexter forced overtime at Allstate Arena by getting fouled on a late 3-point attempt and then hitting all three free throws to tie the game. She also had two big 3-pointers in the extra session.
But Pondexter's exciting return to Chicago was ultimately upstaged by another "welcome back" story. Sky forward Jessica Breland, who missed the previous two games with a shin injury that put her on crutches, was welcomed back to the lineup with open arms. And she made her presence felt from start to finish, particularly at the finish.
Breland scored a career-high 22 points, including 8 points in overtime, to lead the Sky to a 105-100 victory over the New York Liberty. She was a force both inside and outside with pretty jumpers, helping the Sky (6-5) -- which is still missing leading scorer Elena Delle Donne (Lyme disease) -- snap a four-game skid.
"I felt pretty good and my teammates were good about giving me energy," Breland said.
Epiphanny Prince, who was welcomed back recently after missing the first seven games of the season due to personal issues, looked like her old self again. She poured in a game-high 30 points, one more than Pondexter's team-high 29 points.
"This is also the first time I've played with Epiphanny," Breland said, "and the flow between us was good, too."
Prince was 3-of-6 from 3-point range and hit all 11 of her free throws. She scored a clutch 3-pointer in overtime, and also had 7 assists.
"I feel like I'm in a better rhythm and I'm in better game shape," said Prince, who was playing in her fourth game of the season. "I feel like I'm playing with more confidence."
The Sky was up by as many as 10 points in the second half, but the Liberty (3-9) kept fighting back with long daggers from Pondexter and big shots in the paint from center Tina Charles, who scored 25 points but eventually fouled out.
After Breland hit back-to-back baskets in the final minute of overtime to put the Sky up by 3 points, point guard Courtney Vandersloot (17 points, 8 assists) iced the victory with 2 free throws.
"We did a good job of spreading the court and (Vandersloot) always does a good job of (penetrating) and then looking for me," Breland said.
"It was nice to have people make plays when we needed plays," said Sky coach Pokey Chatman, who also got 14 points from rookie center Markeisha Gatling and 11 points and 12 rebounds from forward Tamera Young. "This was a much-needed win. It was huge and I hope it gives us some momentum."