With a game and a half separating the Chicago Sky (11-16) and the New York Liberty (11-15) the two teams battled for playoff positioning on Thursday night at Allstate Arena.
The Sky jumped out to an early six-point lead in the game's first five minutes, with all five starters scoring by the first timeout. New York battled back, ending the first quarter on a 14-8 run to even the tally after one quarter 22-22. Elena Delle Donne entered to a rousing ovation with 3:09 remaining in the first quarter, her first minutes since 6/25 at Connecticut.
The Sky's bench came alive, scoring 11 of the Sky's 17 points in the second quarter. Allie Quigley paced the Sky bench, scoring seven points in the second quarter. Quigley finished the game with 16 points. Chicago's defense tightened up, holding New York to only 14 points in the quarter to take a 39-36 lead into the half.
Elena Delle Donne erupted for 10 points in the third quarter. She earned her first points with pull-up jumper to tie the score at 43-43, and then drained a deep three from the wing for five straight points. Delle Donne's scoring propelled Sky to take a 65-61 lead into the fourth quarter.
"Normally teams will send two (defenders), maybe three at me, but with Elena on the court it's always one-on-one," said Sky center Sylvia Fowles. "Her just being on the court gives us much more spacing."
Fowles recorded her eighth double-double in the Sky's last ten games with an offensive put back early in the fourth quarter. Fowles scored eight consecutive points during an 11-2 run by Chicago to give the Sky its largest lead of the night (76-63). The Sky cruised to an 87-74 victory. Six players finished in double-digits, led by Quigley and Fowles with 16 points each.
Up next for the Sky in their late-season playoff push is a visit from the Washington Mystics on Sunday August 3rd at Allstate Arena at 5pm. The game is the Sky's annual Breast Health Awareness game presented by Weiss Memorial Hospital. Fans are encouraged to #GETPINK with all proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society.