The best passing team in the WNBA made unselfish team basketball look easy Friday night.
The Chicago Sky, leading the WNBA with 21 assists per game, rolled up 30 assists on 39 made baskets in cruising to a 98-72 victory over the visiting Washington Mystics at Allstate Arena.
The Sky (4-4) has now won three games in a row after a four-game skid earlier in the season. It was the second time in three days that the Sky defeated the Mystics.
Point guard Jamierra Faulkner, who finished with a game-high 9 assists, leads the WNBA individually in assists with 6.3 per game.
"I'm a pass-first point guard," Faulkner said. "And my teammates did a great job of screening, and getting each other open, and I hit them (with passes)."
Faulkner, who is the all-time leader in assists at Southern Mississippi (883 assists) and has twice had 10 or more assists in a game this season, has been flourishing in her new role. Previously the back-up point guard to veteran Courtney Vandersloot, Faulkner has started the last six games.
Vandersloot missed the first three of those games with an ankle injury. By the time she returned, Faulkner was playing so well that it was hard for Sky coach Pokey Chatman to take her off the floor.
At the end of the game against the Mystics, both Faulkner and Vandersloot were on the floor together, a combination that intrigues Chatman.
"It's possible (to play Faulkner and Vandersloot more together) with certain lineups," Chatman said. "It's not something you go into the game thinking about but if the comfort is there and the flow is there it just increases your pace and the ability to share the basketball. It gives each one of them a break so it's possible."
In scoring its most points of the season, the Sky put six players in double-figures, led by forward Elena Delle Donne with 18 points. Guards Cappie Pondexter and Allie Quigley each finished with 16 points and Jessica Breland, Erika de Souza and Tamera Young each had 10 points.
The Sky, up by as many as 28 points, shot a sizzling 63 percent from the field in the first half and 55 percent for the game.
Washington (2-6) cut its deficit to 14 points in the third quarter, but the Sky pushed back to a plus-20-point lead a few minutes into the fourth quarter.
"I felt from the beginning we put it together," Chatman said. "It was a very strong defensive effort that we carried from the previous game into this game.
"Even when Washington made a little bit of a run, we were able to withhold it, getting some stops and more importantly, I liked the way we bounced back."