Rosemont Ill.– With a little less than a month to go before the Olympics, Elena Delle Donne got the chance to host Team USA teammates Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi Sunday, with Delle Donne and her Sky getting the better of the Mercury, 100-95.
Bragging rights were sure to have been on the line, as the game was not decided until the final thirty seconds of play. The Mercury were just coming off a Candice Dupree jump shot, which gave them a 95-94 lead. On the next possession, a key assist from Courtney Vandersloot set up Delle Donne to sink the three-point basket.
Phoenix would have a chance on the following possession, but a series of missed baskets and a Delle Donne block on a Taurasi jump shot sealed the victory for the Sky. When Delle Donne was asked what changed in comparison to their last meeting she attributed it to securing the glass
“I’d say rebounding. We got crushed on the boards the last time, and this time I thought we did really well and dominated,” she said. “That’s huge for us because that means we can get out into transition, and when we’re in transition offense we’re really good.”
Also preaching her team’s rebounding was coach Pokey Chatman
“It’s really nice to have a bounce-back game, in [rebounding], and to out-rebound by 22; limiting them to one shot is really good,” she said.
Allie Quigley led the Sky with 21 points off the bench. Five other Chicago scorers would reach double figures, including rookie Imani Boyette, who got her first start in front of her college coach, Texas’ Karen Aston.
“I’m really happy no one saw my face in the film room when they said I was starting,” Boyette said. “I think starting is a big job and I appreciate my coach for trusting me. I just wanted to make sure I was rebounding and playing good defense. That’s all I really focused on today.”
Taurasi led the effort for Phoenix with 26 points and six assists.
“We wanted to play well on both offense and defense. I think we did that in stretches, and there were stretches where Chicago really played well on both ends,” Taurasi said. “It was a game of ups and downs, ebbs and flows, smiles and frowns. And they ended up smiling last.”
The Sky will next play host to the 17-1 Los Angeles Sparks on Wednesday with tip off scheduled for 11:30 AM CT