Sky Move into All-Star Break With Victory Over Mercury

GAME HIGHLIGHTS

  • Phoenix had no answer for Chicago’s offensive attack today, allowing a season-high 55.7 percent shooting performance from the field (39-for-70).
  • The Mercury entered today’s contest ranked 2nd in the league in opponent field goal percentage, allowing opponents to shoot only 42.1 percent on the season. Phoenix was unable to stop the Sky from running, and was outscored on the fast break 13-to-0.
  • Phoenix got off to a slow start in the contest shooting just 11-for-38 (.289) in the first half before coming alive in the second half to shoot 17-for-32 (.531) to finish the game. The Mercury attacked the offensive glass aggressively in the first half recording eight offensive rebounds on the way to tying its season high of 12 for the game. The team also recorded a season-high 18 second chance points.
  • Chicago capitalized on the Mercury’s 14 turnovers turning them into 18 points, while the Mercury was only able to turn the 12 Sky turnovers into eight points. The Sky shot 76.5 percent in the first quarter, and finished the game shooting 55.7 percent from the field.

 

SKY NOTES

  • Courtney Vandersloot recorded her fifth double-double of the season, scoring 17 points and dishing out 11 assists. It was Vandersloot’s third straight double-double heading into the All-Star break.
  • Diamond Deshields tied her career high for points (25), while posting a career high in made field goals shooting 11-for-16 for the game.
  • Stefanie DolsonAllie QuigleyCourtney VanderslootDiamond DeShields, and Cheyenne Parker all scored in double-digits for the Sky.
  • Gabby Williams ended with three steals, while scoring six points and grabbing three rebounds.
  • Today’s game was Chicago’s fourth of the season scoring above 100 points. The Sky’s biggest lead of the game was 16 points.

 

MERCURY NOTES

  • DeWanna Bonner recorded her third double-double of the season (29th career) scoring a season-high 30 points (20 in second half) and tying a season high with 13 rebounds. She also set season highs for field goal attempts (25), free throws made (10), free throws attempted (13) and minutes played (38). Her 20-point performance in the second half ties for the most points scored by a Mercury player in a half this season.
  • Briann January put up a season-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, including 4-of-5 from three-point range. Her best scoring performance of the season featured season highs for made field goals (7), field goals attempted (13), made three-pointers (4), while tying season highs in three-point attempts (5) and steals (2).
  • Stephanie Talbot picked up her first start of the season putting up nine points, three rebounds, three assists and tied her career high in steals with two while playing a career-high 38 minutes. Talbot had yet to play over 20 minutes in a game in the 2018 season.
  • Brittney Griner scored 12 points and grabbed two rebounds in 16 minutes of action before being ejected in the third quarter of play after being called for a flagrant-two foul.

 

POST GAME QUOTES 

SKY GENERAL MANAGER & HEAD COACH AMBER STOCKS

On overall thoughts:

“I am very pleased with the way we moved the basketball and distributed the ball, we played together played in flow. Everyone knows that Allie can shoot the ball and she showed that tonight, nailing 5 threes. Equally impressive was Diamond scoring 25 points on only 16 shot attempts. Diamond had a big job to do on defense which she always does; she always draws the tough defensive assignments. As a team I think we did a really good job defensively.”

On the offense performance:

“Togetherness. This team plays team basketball and plays together, we move the ball around… I mean we didn’t really get to our motion on offense today. We were in sync with our flow game and reading off of each other and a lot of that comes from the leadership of Vandersloot. She is such a leader and she is so smart. She really set the tone for us to do offensively what we did today.”

On the bench helping the team:

“Cheyenne Parker and Kahleah Copper are great assets; they are potent scorers off of the bench. In a game like today it is hard to find enough minutes for everybody. But for the minutes that Copper, Parker, Coates and Harper played, I am very pleased with their productivity. And again talking about the flow, they stayed within the flow of what we did and how we play.”

 

SKY FORWARD DIAMOND DESHIELDS

On high-scoring starters:

“I think it starts with Sloot (Vandersloot), our floor general, she does a good job of controlling the pace, maintaining the pace and getting everyone involved. Usually when we are scoring like that it is always good for our offense, just staying aggressive and shooting the open shot.

On her personal performance:

“I was just trying to be aggressive, you know Alex before the game she told me shoot, you know if you’re open don’t hesitate and I appreciate my teammates for having that confidence in me and it helped me moving into this game.”

 

SKY GUARD COURTNEY VANDERSLOOT

On being successful offensively and defensively:

“Transitions. When we did stops and when we are running we are pretty good and hard to stop. They made a run in the third quarter and we were able to stop the bleeding I guess and make our own run and make enough plays down the stretch to win the game.”

On the benches’ contributions:

“That seems to be the story for us. When we win it’s really because of our bench and it is huge when they come off. We really wanted to use our depth this game knowing the Mercury were a little shorthanded. We wanted to use our depth and keep fresh players in.”

 

MERCURY HEAD COACH SANDY BRONDELLO     

On the game:

“It’s hard when you don’t have a lot of numbers here, but I am happy with the way we fought. We were down and undermanned, but we fought hard in that second half. We made comebacks, but we had a few little breakdowns. We just have to regroup, get our full group back together, and go to work.”

On Bonner’s 20-point second half:

“Well that’s what she does. She’s big for us. She’s a winner, she’s a fighter, and you see how versatile she is. We played her at the four, the two and the one. Her versatility helps us, but when you’re playing with six players in the second half it’s going to make it pretty hard.”

 On scoring in the paint in the second half:

“It was something at halftime where we had to get more aggressive in the paint. They were switching us, and we had to find ways to exploit them. We had to have more player movement, and stay aggressive. I thought we did that, but we just didn’t have enough bodies. When you take away two of our big three, it makes it way harder for us. It gave the others an opportunity to play, so moving forward we won’t be afraid to put them in.”

 

MERCURY FORWARD DEWANNA BONNER

On the second-half performance:

“I was just trying to get a win. I just wanted the win, and I knew we were a little short. When BG went out, we had to just go for it. You can’t hold back at that point.”

 On playing shorthanded:

“I was a little gassed at the end of the fourth. I think we kind of blew it at the beginning of the fourth quarter. We turned the ball over a few times and they scored off of it. That drains you a little bit when you turn the ball over and they score.”

 

MERCURY GUARD BRIANN JANUARY

On the game:

“I thought we brought the fight that we needed to bring. If we bring that fight with the extra firepower that we were missing today I think we will be in a good position to compete the rest of the season. It’s about playing with that energy and effort down the stretch. Everyone is going to be tired and everyone wants to win so we have to bring that every single night.”

 On playing without Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner:

“We just have to stay together and communicate. I think we did a good job, we just have to stay the course and communicate. We had bench players playing a ton of minutes and when they came in you would have never noticed. They played hard, they were confident, and they took it to the rim. That’s what we need from everybody.”