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Sky fall to Fever in Game 3, eliminated from postseason

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Sky fall to Fever in Game 3, eliminated from postseason

CHICAGO (AP) -- Tamika Catchings and the Indiana Fever are back in a familiar place, the Eastern Conference finals.

Catchings scored 27 points and Shenise Johnson added 22 to help the Fever beat the Chicago Sky 100-89 in the decisive game of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Monday night.

It's the fifth straight year that Indiana has advanced this far, matching the league record set by Los Angeles from 1999-03. This might be the most unexpected one of the streak, especially after dropping Game 1 to Chicago.

"We just talked about having fun," Catchings said. "Nobody expects us to win, might as well have fun and go out with a bang."

The Fever relaxed and got their offense going.

Erlana Larkins added 18 points and Marissa Coleman had 17 for the third-seeded Fever, who advanced to face top-seeded New York or fourth-seeded Washington. Those teams conclude their semifinal Tuesday in New York.

Elena Delle Donne led second-seeded Chicago with 40 points, two short of the league's playoff record set by Angel McCoughtry in 2010, according to STATS. The league's MVP was 15-of-22 from the field. She averaged 12.5 points in the previous two games.

"I knew Elena was going to have a great game," Catchings said. "You can't hold somebody like that with all the weapons she has. We've been blessed the last couple games she hasn't really produced like she did tonight. We did a good job of, if she's going on off, making sure no one else does."

Allie Quigley added 18 points and Jessica Breland had 10 for the Sky, who lost to Phoenix in the championship finals last season.

"We're pretty shocked," Delle Donne said. "The last game, Indiana got a lot of momentum and they just carried it through into this game. I expect them to carry it through the rest of the playoffs."

Catchings hit a 3 and Larkins completed a 3-point play for an 81-67 Indiana lead with 7:25 left. Coleman made a 3 with 1:06 remaining for a 93-85 lead to all but seal the win. The Fever hit seven of eight free throws in the final minute.

The Fever shot 10-of-20 from beyond the arc and made 16-of-20 free throws.

"We've done a very good job of sharing the ball," Indiana coach Stephanie White said. "We have a once-in-a-lifetime player in Tamika Catchings, but she's also 36. We have to do it by committee. Our team has stepped up all season long. We're unselfish."

Catchings became the first player in WNBA history to score 1,000 points in the playoffs. She now has 1,019.

"Catch makes them believe things they probably never thought they could do, and that's what makes her so special aside from her talent," Delle Donne said.

Indiana went on a 9-2 run to take a 63-52 lead in the third.

Sky coach Pokey Chatman noted Indiana has several players back from injuries since Chicago swept the Fever during the regular season.

"From the very beginning, we allowed Indiana to become very comfortable offensively," Chatman said.

Chicago won the opener 77-72 before Indiana won the second game 89-82.

"We definitely had confidence after dropping Game 1," Catchings said. "Looking at the things we did wrong and the things that were correctable, we didn't box out well. The mindset shifted to controlling the controllables."

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.