Fowles leads Chicago in win on the road, Sky defeat Mystics 69-57 in season opener
Photos © Mark W. Sutton.
With 23 points and 12 rebounds, Sylvia Fowles anchored Chicago’s 69-57 road win Saturday against Washington in the regular season opener for both teams. Last season Chicago (1-0) swept the series vs. Washington (0-1), winning all four games the teams played against each other.
“Anytime you can get a win on the road that’s nice,” said Sky head coach Pokey Chatman.
Washington began the game on a 6-0 run fueled by offense from Monique Currie and Crystal Langhorne but Chicago’s Fowles, veteran Swin Cash and second-year player Courtney Vandersloot made some quick shots to even up the score. A free throw by Cash at the 6:29 mark gave the Sky their first lead and Chicago stayed ahead for the rest of the game. They earned their largest lead of the game, 36-21, in the last two minutes of the first half after a jump shot from Ruth Riley put them ahead by 15. At the break, they led 38-25.
“It was a disappointing start. Offensively we made a lot of silly mistakes and poor decisions in our passes,” said Mystics head coach Trudi Lacey. “Early on in the first half we messed up on our defensive schemes and left them wide open for three-point shots and they shot almost 63 percent from the three which can happen against a good offensive team. Having said that, we have to continue to work and learn each other especially on the offensive end.”
Even though Chicago held on to their lead in the second half, it was not easy. In the latter part of the third quarter Washington’s Jasmine Thomas and Currie made three-point shots and free throws that helped the Mystics close the margin and get within three.
Chatman pointed out her team’s weaknesses in the third quarter.
“We came out flat,” she said. “We didn’t take a shot for the first minute and 45 seconds because we turned it over. Despite that it was obviously ugly and despite that we were still able to keep them in the 50 [point range], that was a positive thing to come back and finish strong.”
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Chicago led 45-42.
Fowles started the scoring for the Sky in the fourth quarter with a jumper followed by another from Tamera Young. Currie and Langhorne helped Washington keep the margin close. After a free throw from Currie at 7:49, the score was 49-45. But a three-point shot from Prince and then a flurry of offense mostly from Fowles helped the Sky pull away and keep the Mystics at bay.
Prince finished with 16 points while veteran Swin Cash, in her first year with the Sky after arriving from Seattle in the offseason, had 14 points and seven rebounds.
Cash was pleased with her team’s effort in the last period.
“It’s just one of those things where in the fourth quarter we just went with the mentality that we have to be aggressive and buckle down on defense and try to make some plays,” said Cash. “I was really happy with our team and how well we responded to the adversity. When you have a tough team like the Mystics at home and the crowd is behind them, you can easily fold and I was really proud of my team that we stuck together.”
For Washington, Langhorne led with 16 points and eight rebounds while Currie added 14 points. Washington outrebounded Chicago 30-28 while the teams were even at 32 for points in the paint.
The Sky return to Chicago to play their home opener on Friday, May 25 against the Indiana Fever. The Mystics (0-1) take on Tulsa in Washington on May 26.
- Points in the Paint: Sky 32, Mystics 32
- Second Chance Points: Sky 6, Mystics 14
- Fastbreak Points: Sky 7, Mystics 11
- Biggest Lead: Sky 15, Mystics 6
- Lead Changes: 1
- Times Tied: 2
Other Saturday Results
Connecticut 78, New York 73
Indiana 92, Atlanta 84
San Antonio 88, Tulsa 79