Sky rolls from Indianapolis over Atlanta
The Chicago Sky is on a roll.
Or maybe the Sky just kept rolling ... right from Indianapolis, into Chicago at 2 a.m. Saturday, and then right to another key win Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
About 24 hours after stealing a win in Indianapolis against the Indiana Fever, the Sky overcame an 11-point second-half deficit to pull out a 91-86 victory over the Atlanta Dream.
The wins against Indiana and Atlanta on back-to-back nights in two different cities were not only impressive for the Sky but they were crucial to the Sky's playoff hopes.
Both Indiana and Atlanta are teams the Sky will need to leapfrog in order to jump into the playoff mix, which involves the top eight teams in the WNBA. The playoffs start in September and the Sky has only eight regular season games left.
The Sky began the weekend in 11th place in the league standings, tied with Indiana and two games behind Atlanta.
Now, the Sky (10-16) is just a half-game behind Atlanta (10-15) and Seattle (10-15), which are tied for eight place.
"It's hard for me to see more than one day at a time," Sky coach Amber Stocks said. "But as coaches, we do look at the playoffs and the standings to see where we are. We continue to try to etch our way into the hunt. However, none of that can happen until we take care of the game at hand."
The Sky took care of Atlanta, a team that it made a major trade with earlier in the week, with hot shooting, particularly in the fourth quarter. An 11-point Dream lead was erased by a 62 percent field goal clip that included a perfect 2-for-2 from the field from both Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot, and a 4-for-5 effort from center Stefanie Dolson.
Vandersloot tied her career-high with a game-high 26 points, to go along with 10 assists. It was the eighth time this season and the fourth game in a row that Vandersloot has had 10 or more assists in a game.
Quigley finished with 15 points and Dolson scored all 18 of her points in the second half. She was plagued with foul trouble in the first half, taking on three fouls before halftime.
"I think we just kept chipping away. There wasn't a panic," Vandersloot said of how the Sky got back into the game. "It felt like at one point we couldn't get stops when we needed them. We were scoring, that wasn't the problem. But we switched to a zone, maybe took them out of a rhythm and we continued to score. We capitalized down the stretch."
Vandersloot has capitalized off of extra hours in the gym for shooting practice. She's also finally gotten into a groove here. She got off to a slow start because she came to Chicago late since her off-season team in Hungary was playing for a championship late into May, and then she had to return to Europe just four games into her return to fulfill some obligations to the Hungary national team.
Vandersloot has missed a total of seven games.
"I feel like things are going well right now for me," said Vandersloot, who was flirting with a triple-double with 7 rebounds. "I'm always in a really good position because I have a lot of shooters around me. That opened up a lot of things for tonight. I'm just trying to do whatever it takes to win, whatever the team needs at the time. It was just one of those days (regarding her shooting of 9-of-11 from the field.)"
The Sky also got double-figures from guard Cappie Pondexter, who scored 12 points off the bench.
Meanwhile, Atlanta was led by Tiffany Hayes and Brittney Sykes, each of whom scored 13 points. Elizabeth Williams added 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds and Tamera Young, who was traded away to Atlanta on Monday after nine seasons in Chicago, finished with 10 points off the bench. Center Imani Boyette, who was also traded to Atlanta from Chicago, scored 8 points off the bench for the Dream.
Forward Jordan Hooper, who came to the Sky from Atlanta in the trade, scored 3 points off the bench on 1-of-5 shooting from 3-point range.