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Quigley leads Sky to win in series opener over Fever

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Quigley leads Sky to win in series opener over Fever

CHICAGO -- WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne had a rare quiet night.

Her Chicago Sky teammates picked her up.

Allie Quigley scored 20 points to help the Sky beat the Indiana Fever 77-72 Thursday night in the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Courtney Vandersloot added 19 points for the second-seeded Sky in the best-of-three series. Delle Donne, who was averaging a WNBA-best 23.4 points, had 14 points -- 12 after halftime -- to go along with 11 rebounds. Jessica Breland added 12 points.

Delle Donne was more concerned about winning than her stats.

"Clearly, this team is why I won the MVP this year," Delle Donne said. "That showed out there, and it will continue to show throughout the playoffs."

Tamika Catchings led the third-seeded Fever with 21 points and Marissa Coleman added 16.

Game 2 is Saturday in Indianapolis.

"Better believe we'll be ready for her Saturday because she's going to be a different Elena Delle Donne," Catchings said.

Vandersloot and Quigley also combined for four 3-pointers and 11 assists.

"Guarding them definitely has to be a priority," Catchings said.

Coleman hit a 3 with 8:09 left to give Indiana a 56-54 lead, its first since the game's early minutes. The Sky went back ahead 59-58 on Erika DeSouza's layup.

Breland's putback gave the Sky a 75-71 lead with 1:23 remaining. Catchings missed a free throw with 1:13 left and also a 3 with 15.6 seconds to go.

Vandersloot made two free throws with 12.9 seconds left to close the scoring.

The Sky scored 22 second-chance points to the Fever's four. Chicago also owned a 43-36 rebounding edge and shot 41 percent from the field to Indiana's 38.2 percent.

"It comes down to details, and we have to take better care of the details," Fever coach Stephanie White said. "We have to be a better rebounding team. We had way too many turnovers in the first half."

Chicago led 24-15 after the first quarter before Indiana pulled within one at halftime. Delle Donne had two points on 1-for-4 shooting. She overcame the slow start to score seven in the third for a Sky 54-51 lead.

"Look, she had a double-double," White said. "We're elated she might have been off a little bit. She's a terrific player.

"You look at the players on the floor. We need to give two players to [defend] Elena Delle Donne. Then, you've got Sloot and Quigley running wild. You've got Breland, who is as efficient a player as they come. There's a reason they're in the position they're in."

Chicago, who lost to Phoenix in last season's finals, swept the Fever in four games in the season series.

This game was played at the UIC Pavilion because Marvel Universe Live! is taking place at Allstate Arena this weekend.

Sky pick a pair of players from power programs in top 5 of draft

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USA TODAY

Sky pick a pair of players from power programs in top 5 of draft

The first year of the post-Elena Delle Donne era for the Chicago Sky did not go well.

The Sky limped to a 12-22 record without the former WNBA MVP and scoring champ. As the Bulls are about to experience, the upside of a losing season is a high draft pick the next year.

The Sky had the third and fourth picks in the draft, which took place on Thursday, and snagged a pair of players from powerhouse programs in women's college basketball.

At No. 3 the Sky picked up Diamond DeShields from Tennessee. She led the Lady Vols in scoring in the 2016-17 season, but that was her junior year. She elected to sign overseas with Cukurova in Turkey instead of playing out her final year of eligibility. The New York Times profiled her just ahead of the WNBA draft.

Oh, and she's also the daughter of former major leaguer Delino DeShields and her brother, Delino DeShields Jr., is currently an outfielder for the Texas Rangers.

At No. 4, the Sky picked up UConn forward Gabby Williams. Williams started every game in each of the last two seasons for the Huskies, which went undefeated in the regular season and made the Final Four both of those seasons.

Sky continue early season struggles in loss to Sun

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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.