POSTGAME NOTES powered by Chicago Sun Times: Sky Head Into Playoffs Having Shattered Series of Records, But Fall 100-86 to Mystics in Final Game of Regular Season

KEY RUNS

• The Mystics went on an 11-0 run to lead 11-3 at the 5:38 mark of the first quarter

• Washington’s 12-5 spurt between the first and second quarter gave it a 30-17 advantage

• The Sky went on a 9-2 run to cut the Mystics lead to 32-26 with 7:51 left in the second quarter

• Washington closed the first half on a 24-13 run, leading 56-39 at halftime

• Chicago went on a 9-0 run to cut its deficit X points, 69-63, with 54 seconds remaining in the third quarter

• The Mystics’ 13-0 run between the third and fourth quarter expanded their lead to 82-63

• The Sky ended the game on an 11-2, still falling short in the end, 100-86

KEY STATS

• Chicago lost for only the third time this season when it shot a higher FG% than its opponent and for the second time when it shot 50% or better from the floor, with both losses coming against Washington

• The Mystics scored in triple digits for the fifth time this season, and the Sky allowed a triple-digit scoring total for the fourth time this season

• The Mystics outscored the Sky by 15 points from beyond the arc

• Washington won the offensive rebound battle, 14-4, and outrebounded Chicago overall 42-29

• The teams combined for 89 bench points, with the Mystics bench outscoring the Sky’s 46-43

• The Mystics tallied 28 assists, compared to 20 for the Sky

CHICAGO NOTES

• The Sky’s fourth 3P FGM shattered the team’s previous record of 244 in a season, set in 2018

• With Chicago’s ninth assist, the Sky broke the team record of 721 assists in a season, also set last year

• Chicago’s 25 defensive rebounds brought the team’s season total to 958, topping the team record of 906 set in 2015

• Courtney Vandersloot became the first player in WNBA history to average 9.0 APG in a season, with her

third assist of the matchup. Vandersloot finished with six dimes

• Vandersloot reached 300 assists in a season with her sixth assist, setting a new record. Prior to Vandersloot, the most assists recorded by another WNBA player was in 2011 when Ticha Penicheiro recorded 236 assists

• Kahleah Copper scored in double figures for just the third time in her last 20 games, pouring in 13 points

• Vandesloot was held scoreless in the first half for the fourth time this season

• With Chicago’s ninth assist, the Sky broke the team record of 721 assists in a season, set in 2018

• Allie Quigley’s first made 3 of the game set a personal best and solidified her as the Sky’s all-time record holder for 3-point FGM in a single season. Prior to today’s game, Quigley’s best was 77 in 2017

• Quigley is now the first Sky player to have led the league in 3-pointers made, the title most recently held by Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi (2016-18) and former Washington Mystics guard Ivory Latta

• Gabby Williams matched her season high with three steals and scored in double figures for just the second time in her last 28 games

• Diamond DeShields scored in double figures for the 30th time in 34 games

• Kayla Alexander recorded a season-high five points in a season-high 11 minutes of action, also recording her first assist of the season

WASHINGTON NOTES

● Tianna Hawkins matched a career high with 24 points and set a season high with nine rebounds; she scored in double figures for just the fourth time in her past 17 games

● Hawkins set a career high with her 4 made 3-pointers

● Elena Delle Donne led the Mystics in scoring for the 18th time this season with 25 points

● Delle Donne’s 20 first-half points match the third-most she’s scored in a half this season

● Delle Donne recorded her 300th career block in the contest

● Delle Donne posted her 10th double-double of the season, finishing sixth in the league in the category

● Emma Meesseman scored in double figures for the sixth straight game and 11th of her past 12 games

● Rookie Shey Peddy’s seven points are the second-most she’s scored in a game this season

 

POSTGAME QUOTES

SKY GENERAL MANAGER AND HEAD COACH JAMES WADE

On the Sky bench’s performance:

“The bench is key. Our bench mob is key. We’re only going to go as far as they can take us. We have a solid starting group but our depth has been important even with the injuries that we’ve had or the players leaving. It’s important that we have depth. So it’s been really key to our success this season.”

On Astou Ndour’s ejection:

“She’s a sweetheart. If you know her, you’ll know that she didn’t mean any ill-will. I think one of the issues is, it’s good to know when you have a player that doesn’t really speak English and wants to get your attention. Sometimes the next thing is going to be touching. I think he was walking in her path and she just touched him and said hey look. I know you can’t do that but I think if you know the person, I think you’d probably second guess about kicking her out of the game. That hurts the player morale when all they want to do is talk and they want to do is just talk and they have a problem with the language barrier anyway. We bring them over here and they have a language barrier so the best way they can do it is a little bit more showy. When you do that, I think, when you kick a player out the game, it kind of deflates them a little bit. When we came in at the half she felt really deflated because she felt like she let her teammates down and that wasn’t the case, so we spent a lot of our halftime picking her up. That’s something I thought could have been avoided.”

SKY GUARD DIAMOND DESHIELDS

On going to the playoffs for the first time:

“I’m really excited. Not too many people get to hang around the league long enough to go to the playoffs. The lifespan of a career in this league can be brutally short. I’m happy to get it in year two and hopefully, we can make a push.”

On facing the Mercury in the playoffs:

“We know their reputation precedes them in the playoffs. This is not going to be the same team that we have faced the past three times. Everything gets elevated in the playoffs. It’s my first one but based on what I’ve been told. We’re just getting ready to have a gauntlet matchup with them. [It will be] a tough playoff game, but luckily we get to take it to the crib. Hopefully, the fans will come out and give us a good atmosphere.”

SKY GUARD/FORWARD KAHLEAH COPPER

On her success on the floor today:

“I just tried to come out and contribute any way I can. I tell the bench every game we win games when we contribute. I just told them we’re just going to come out and give a better effort and bring some more energy.”

On having a strong bench in the playoffs:

“It can take us a long way. Our starters are great but if they can look to us when they get tired and we come up and maintain a level or take the level up a notch, I think that’s awesome… I think we take pride in that [scoring half the team’s points tonight] as a bench. We take pride in coming out and competing with other teams. I think that our bench knows we have an important role. We’re not just going to come in and just take a role. I think we know we’re supposed to come in and contribute for us to win the game.”

MYSTICS HEAD COACH MIKE THIBAULT

On today’s game:

“It was a nice way to finish the season. We played well against a good team, got everybody a lot of minutes. We were able to rest some people that we needed to rest, but they also needed to play a little bit today too. We have a lot of time off. I thought we did a lot of good things. I thought there was a bad four- or five-minute stretch in the third quarter, but other than that, we did a lot of good stuff. We moved the ball, had a lot of assists. Defensively, we were good until we started fouling at the end of the third and the end of the fourth quarter. That’s a nice way to finish the regular season.”

On assessing how the season went and getting the double bye:

“The first goal is always to make the playoffs. Second goal is to try and get the double bye, have home court. Third goal was to get home court all the way through. We’ve accomplished all of those and to try and come out at the end of the season as healthy as you can be. We don’t set a lot of statistical goals. Probably the statistics that we look at most are the ones that most people don’t’ look at. We look at assists, we look at rebound percentage, we look at turnover difference and free-throw difference. For the most part during the season, we’ve done a good job in most of those areas. Tonight, I think we had 28 assists, not so good with the free throws, we played improving defense and improving rebounding as the season went on. Our goal the last month was to be on an upward trend going into the playoffs. When you win 16 out of our last 18, I guess you have to say that you’re on an upward trend. Hopefully, the layoff doesn’t give us too much rest, but we are going to try and balance out rest and workouts.”

On the atmosphere at home:

“It’s great. We are 14-2 in this building. I think our other loss was at Capital One Arena. The crowd has been a really effective crowd. Our fans have given us a home court advantage that we haven’t had. It’s loud in there. I think it will be louder in the playoffs. I talked to our players actually before the game about making sure that when we talk on defense to be louder than we’ve normally been to get ourselves ready for what it is going to be like in a playoff atmosphere. This has been a fun first year in this building and hopefully, it will be another fun month in this building. The atmosphere has just been great.”

WASHINGTON MYSTICS FORWARD ELENA DELLE DONNE

On the crowd’s MVP chants tonight:

“It’s something that gives you chills. I absolutely love this city and there’s nowhere I would rather be. For [the fans] to have my back like that really means a lot. It was a special moment.”

On the team’s confidence winning the championship this year:

“We’re super confident. We won’t be happy if we come away short. That’s tough [if we] have a really great season like this and then don’t win a championship. We won’t be happy. That shows that our goals are super lofty and everybody’s ready. We’re going to take a nice rest. We earned it, we deserve it. But then we’ve got to come back and prepare for a whole new season.”

WASHINGTON MYSTICS GUARD NATASHA CLOUD

On the importance of assists for the Mystics offense:

“The assists across the board for everyone on our team shows how unselfish [we] are. We find the right shot, the right player at the right time. I’m extremely proud of this team and how we share and move the ball. That’s what makes it so fun to watch, too. The fluidity of our offense and the chemistry we have, understanding where to put people in successful situations. It’s a personal accolade for me, but this team is phenomenal too with playing team basketball.”

On how the mindset changes from regular season to the playoffs:

“Remaining ourselves, understanding what makes us successful and carrying that ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ type of [mentality]. We’re starting 0-0. It’s great that we handled our business during the regular season but this is a whole other season right now. Being first and having one of the best records in franchise history, that doesn’t mean anything at this point. We’ve got six games to get to a championship, we’ll take it one game at a time and get some rest these next few days. No one’s going to leave with any other mindset but to ‘run it back.’”