Sky fell short in the second half and lost to the Mystics 71-69


Sky star Kalea Copper rallied his teammates to the free-throw line before the half-time buzzer sounded.

Her message was inaudible to anyone outside the gathering, but her stressed tone was clear. She clapped her hands as she spoke and she looked around at the faces of the eight people looking back at her. Seconds later, the ball went inbounds and Sky had a full-court defense against the Mystics.

Sky controlled the game defensively in the second half, but Elena delle Donne’s late 3-pointer was the winner in Sky’s home opener at Wintrust Arena on Friday, as the Mystics finished with 71 points. Won against 69. It was Sky’s first loss in three games.

“I wanted to throw the first punch in the third quarter,” Copper said.

They didn’t land their first punch, but Mystics didn’t knock them to the floor.

The Mystics extended their 16-point lead in the third quarter, but Sky closed the gap to six with a 10-0 run within two minutes. Mystics coach Eric Thibault decided he had seen enough and called a timeout when Marina Mabrey’s middle-distance jumper closed Sky’s lead to four points.

Sky forced six turnovers in the third quarter and scored two steals. They also dominated the board, allowing the Mystics only one second chance in the quarter.

”[We wanted to] Scrape it off,” Copper said. “We never thought we would lose the game.

The score was tied at 66 and Rebecca Gardner fell to the floor in pain under the basket when Sky got the ball with just over 30 seconds remaining. With the Mystics in possession, Dele Dunn scored the winning three-pointer for the opposition.

Gardner had to get off the floor with the help of Skye’s training staff.

Coach and general manager James Wade came in with a small lineup after the half-time break. With Alana Smith in foul trouble and Morgan Birch on the bench in the second quarter with an ankle injury, he really had no choice.

“We don’t have any updates right now,” Wade said. ”[Gardner and Bertsch are] with team doctors. I’ve seen both, but don’t have any updates to share. ”

If there ever was a moment when Skyfans showed their support for the new team, it was at the home opener. Courtney Williams made two 3-pointers to tie the game in the second half, bringing the 7,304 fans in attendance to their feet.

Williams had 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Mabry led Sky with 19 points and Copper added 12.

Wade’s perfect challenge record remained intact when he used his third game of the season to challenge for a foul call on Elizabeth Williams late in the fourth quarter. The call was overturned and Williams won her second block of the night, passing Tina Thompson for 14th place on the WNBA’s all-time blocked list. Williams had nine points, three rebounds and two blocks.

Dele Dunn’s mystique in Chicago is gone, Sky players said. She played her first four seasons of the WNBA (2013-2016) with Sky, but since 2019 she hasn’t played for Chicago.

In any case, a return to the city, where Del Dunn was a three-time All-Star, made it to the WNBA Finals (2014), and won his first MVP (2015), is a big deal for Sky’s current roster. It didn’t carry any weight.

“I never thought about it,” Gardner said before the game.

But Dele Dunn claimed the edge by finishing with a game-high 25 points. She made 10-of-17 field goals, including 3-of-5 3-pointers.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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