Sky surprises home crowd with win over Lynx
From worst to first.
That's been the Chicago Sky's schedule in the last week, a game at San Antonio last Friday and then a home game against Minnesota Saturday night.
San Antonio is the worst team in the WNBA, and hadn't won a single game in 14 tries heading into its game against the Sky. Minnesota is the best team in the league and had only one loss in 14 games.
The Sky did the unexpected. Twice.
Despite having its own struggles this season, the Sky was still expected to get a win last week in San Antonio, after having already beaten the Stars on their own floor in June.
But the Sky lost that game, giving the Stars (1-14) their first win of the season.
With expectations flipped for the Minnesota game, the Sky put together the most pleasant of surprises for the home crowd at Allstate Arena, running over the Lynx with tough defense and a pedal-to-the-metal transition game that yielded a 100-76 victory.
"This feels good, really good. It was a good team win," Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot said. "That's the best part about it. Everyone stepped up today."
The Sky needed an all-hands-on-deck effort to help push a heavy monkey off its back. Heading into the game, the Sky, which is now 4-12 on the season, had yet to win at Allstate Arena this season.
Its 0-7 start there tied a franchise record for longest streak without a win at home. There were other milestones reached. The 100 points was a season-high for the Sky, and its 59.7 percent shooting clip from the field was also a season best.
Meanwhile, Vandersloot, had one of the most special games of her career.
Starting in place of veteran Cappie Pondexter, who is out with a concussion, Vandersloot poured in a career-high 26 points (on 3-of-6 three-pointers), while also rolling up a season-high 13 assists and 7 rebounds.
"That's a good team we just beat," said Vandersloot, one of five Sky players in double-figures. "I think we showed ourselves and everyone else how good we could be. That's the most important thing."
The Sky got out to an early lead, up 31-26 at the end of a fast-paced first quarter. The doors got blown off when the Sky out-scored Minnesota, which fell to 13-2 on the season, 22-10 in the third quarter. The Sky built its lead to as many as 25 points late in the fourth quarter.
The Lynx, and former Sky star center, Sylvia Fowles were simply perplexed, both during and after the game.
"Shoot, we weren't ready to play," said Fowles, a leading candidate for most valuable player of the league. She's averaging 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds per game, but had just 13 points and 6 rebounds against the Sky. "Chicago ran it down our throats. We definitely have got some stuff we need to work on.
"I can't pinpoint exactly what happened. But it's not good."
Forward Rebekkah Brunson topped Minnesota with 22 points, including 4 three-pointers. Guard Seimone Augustus added 10 points and reserve guard Renee Montgomery had 9 points, all on three-pointers.
For the Sky, which out-scored Minnesota 19-4 in fast-break points and 54-22 in points in the paint, forward Tamera Young finished with 18 points, Cheyenne Parker came off the bench to score 14 points and center Stefanie Dolson and guard Allie Quigley added 12 and 11 points respectively.