Delle Donne scores 24 points and Sky dominates Fever 98-72


Delle Donne scores 24 points and Sky dominates Fever 98-72

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Elena Delle Donne scored 24 points — her lowest output of the season — with nine rebounds and the Chicago Sky dominated the Indiana Fever 98-72 on Sunday.

Delle Donne's first 3-pointer put Chicago (2-2) up 9-2 and the Sky never trailed. She was 10 of 11 from the line. Cappie Pondexter scored 15 points, Courntey Vandersloot had 14 and Clarissa Dos Santos added 12. Betnijah Laney and Jamierra Faulkner had 11 and 10, respectively.

The Sky held a 19-rebound advantage, had seven steals and 10 blocked shots, limiting Indiana to 31 percent shooting for the game and just 5 of 25 from the 3-point line.

"Our offense really flows when our defense is picked up," said Delle Donne. "We knew how important a good defensive effort was going to be tonight, because then we're able get out in transition. That's when we're at our best."

The Fever was paced by Marissa Coleman with 16 points. Natalie Achonwa had 12 and Maggie Lucas added 10 points. Indiana forward Tamika Catchings served a one-game suspension by the league for making contact with a game official in Friday's win over Phoenix.

Catchings was on hand before the game to help honor Lauren Hill, who died from brain cancer on April 10 at the age of 19. She had an inspirational several months in which she lived her dream of playing college basketball for Mount St. Joseph, a Division III school.

At the time of her death, Hill's work had raised $1.4 million for pediatric cancer research, according to the non-profit group The Cure Starts Now. The Fever donated $300 to the charity for each layup made by both teams during Sunday's game — a total of $9,600, a Fever spokesman said.

An Indiana jersey with Hill's name and the number 22 — her number at Mount St. Joseph — was laid over a chair on the Fever bench during the game.

Indiana (1-4) trailed 53-21 at the half. The Fever was just 6 of 35 from the floor in the first half and 1 of 12 on 3-pointers. They went more than 10 minutes between the second and third quarters without scoring.

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Delle Donne contributed seven points in the first five minutes of the game and the Sky shot 65 percent while limiting Indiana to just 12 points in the first ten minutes of action.

"The mindset was getting off to a really great start," said Chicago coach Pokey Chatman. "We've kind of struggled (previously) in the first quarter.  That's when you should be the most ready.  And I think as a group, they got together and made sure they were ready from the beginning and that resulted in a 9-2 start.  So that gave us early momentum and we were able to maintain it throughout the game."

The Sky outrebounded the Fever, 46-27, Indiana's second-largest rebounding deficit in franchise history and the 32-point hole marked the largest halftime deficit the Fever have held at home in franchise history.

Chatman was impressed with his team's defensive effort, especially its boardwork.

"We were really active and sticking to the schemes," he said. "But the best part about it was we kind of married that to rebounding.  Sometimes you play good defense and somebody will sneak in there for and a rebound, so we get the rebound and it got us out in transition and got some easy buckets."

Fever coach Stephanie White had trouble taking anything positive out of the game.

"It was an embarrassment," White said. "We didn't play with pride and that's not acceptable. We were lackluster from the start. Fortunately we came out harder to start the third quarter, but you can't do that in this league — you can't choose when to play hard and when not to."

Pondexter, Chicago's veteran guard, moved up to the No. 11 spot on the league's career assists list, passing Katie Smith with her second assist. Pondexter finished the game with four assists and a career total of 1,260 assists.

Sky continue early season struggles in loss to Sun


Sky continue early season struggles in loss to Sun

ROSEMONT — Jonquel Jones scored 19 of her career-high 23 points in the second half and finished with 21 rebounds to help the Connecticut Sun beat the Chicago Sky 97-79 on Sunday night.

Jones, who set her previous career best of 20 rebounds on May 13, became the 12th player in WNBA history with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game. Alyssa Thomas had 17 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals and Lynetta Kizer scored 16 with seven rebounds for Connecticut (1-4), which won its first game of the season.

Kizer’s jumper midway through the first quarter made it 14-13 and the Sun led the rest of the way. Jessica Breland hit two free throws to pull Chicago (1-5) within four with 4:37 left in the third, but Jones scored seven points during a 10-3 run over the next three-plus minutes and the Sky got no closer.

Tamera Young led Chicago with 17 points. She has at least one made 3-pointer in each of the last five games after going nearly five calendar years (June 23, 2011) since her last 3.

Elena Delle Donne returns to Chicago, helps Mystics take down Sky

Elena Delle Donne returns to Chicago, helps Mystics take down Sky

ROSEMONT — Elena Delle Donne scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds in her return to Chicago, and the Washington Mystics beat the Sky 82-67 on Wednesday.

The 2015 MVP asked to be traded in the offseason after four seasons with the Sky. She opened the scoring with a turnaround jumper from the free-throw line and finished 7-for-15 from the floor.

"Definitely feels weird coming in here, being in the guest locker room, being on the other bench and all," Delle Donne said. "But my teammates, they've been great and even in the locker room they're like, 'How you feeling? You good, you good?' Just checking on me, and that made me relax."

Neither team led by more than six points in the first three quarters, but Washington broke it open early in the fourth quarter with a 14-6 spurt. Delle Donne had six points during the span, Ivory Latta and Natasha Cloud each hit a 3-pointer, and the Mystics' lead didn't drop below eight points the rest of the way.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Washington, ranked sixth in the AP power poll. Reserve Tianna Hawkins scored 12 points and grabbed nine boards.

The Mystics shot only 40 percent but had 19 assists on 29 field goals.

"That's one of the best parts about our team is that we do move the ball well," Washington coach Mike Thibault said. "We're unselfish and we try to find the open man. If we had hit some 3s like we normally can, we might have had a few more."

Cappie Pondexter led the 10th-ranked Sky with 17 points and 10 assists. She also moved into seventh on the WNBA career assists list. Stefanie Dolson had 13 points and 11 rebounds against her former team, and Allie Quigley also scored 13 — all in the first half. Starting point guard Courtney Vandersloot missed her fourth game.

Quigley scored eight of the Sky's first 15 points in her first game of the season since returning from Turkey, and the Sky trailed 43-41 at halftime after shooting just 33 percent.