Pondexter and Delle Donne have 24 points each as Sky defeats Lynx, 90-83
The Chicago Sky (7-5) defeated the Minnesota Lynx 90-83 at Allstate Arena Friday evening in front of nearly 7,000 fans to kick off a three-game home stand. The Lynx’s three-game winning streak came to an end and the team moves to 8-3 on the season.
The Sky were paced by 24 points from veteran guard Cappie Pondexter and a 24-point, 10 rebound double-double from Elena Delle Donne.
The Sky got off to a slow start, as Minnesota jumped out to an early 8-2 lead but it wasn’t long before Pondexter took over. At the end of the first quarter, Pondexter scored eight consecutive points to close the gap, however, the Lynx still led 22-19 after one.
The Sky began the second quarter on a 5-0 run, taking the lead for the first time in the contest on a jumper by Jessica Breland at the 8:29 mark. The two teams exchanged the lead eight times during the quarter. At the half, the Lynx led 40-38 behind 13 points from Seimone Augustus. Delle Donne and Pondexter led the Sky with 12 points and 11 points respectively.
The Sky began the third quarter on a 9-2 run, capitalizing on Minnesota’s early turnovers. The Lynx would not go away, however, as 2014 MVP Maya Moore came alive in the third quarter, scoring nine points after being held to only four total points in the first half. The Sky took a 60-59 lead into the fourth quarter on an alley-oop from Jamierra Faulkner to Allie Quigley at the buzzer.
The Sky never trailed in the fourth quarter and led by as many as eight but Minnesota hung around and Moore knocked down her fifth three-pointer of the night with 54 seconds left in the game to cut Chicago’s lead to only four. Despite Moore’s efforts, Pondexter contributed 11 points in the fourth to help the Sky secure a 90-83 victory over Minnesota.
“To start, I thought we were a little timid on the offensive end so I demanded the ball,” said Pondexter. “I wanted to be aggressive to let the team know that we can win this game easily, especially being at home.”
Chicago’s duo of Pondexter and Delle Donne combined for 48 points and Clarissa Dos Santos added 10 points for the Sky. Minnesota had four players score in double-figures, led by Moore who scored 25 of her 29 points in the second half. She finished with a season high 29 points, including tying her season-high in rebounds with 11. It marked her 24th career double-double (third of the season) and 14th 20 point/10 rebound effort.
The Sky will look to win their third game in a row on Sunday when they take on the Connecticut Sun. The Lynx host the San Antonio Stars on the same day.
- Elena Delle Donne recorded her team-high seventh double-double while she finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
- Jessica Breland had a season-high 11 points and four blocks.
- Betnijah Laney’s start tonight was the first of her WNBA career.
- Jamierra Faulkner finished with a season high six assists.
- Faulkner also finished with four points, which marked the 300th point of her career.
- After trailing 66-44 with 8:27 left in the fourth quarter, the Sky went on a 7-0 run to lead 71-66 and never relinquished the lead.
- The Sky continued their trend of victories when leading after the third quarter. Since 2014, the Sky is now 18-4 when leading after three quarters.
- After scoring only four points in the first half, reigning MVP Maya Moore poured in 25 second-half points, finishing with a season-high 29 for the night.
- Maya Moore (37:04) and Lindsay Whalen (34:37) both recorded a new season-high in minutes.
- Prior to Friday night’s loss, the Lynx were undefeated on the season when scoring 80+ points (3-0).
- The Lynx tied a season-low in turnovers with nine.
- With Chicago’s 90 points, the Lynx are now 0-3 this season when allowing 80+ points and 1-3 when permitting 40%+. The Sky finished 50.8% from the floor, marking a season high for a Lynx opponent. The Lynx allowed 50%+ three time last year and have lost their last six in that category (10-71 all-time).
- Minnesota’s Moore shot 4-for-14 from three-point range, her 14 attempts are a club single-game record. The previous mark of 13 was shared by Katie Smith and Anna DeForge. Moore entered tonight’s contest averaging 18.3 points on 47.7% shooting in Minnesota’s last three games.
- Anna Cruz made her Lynx debut, posting six points and four rebounds in 14 minutes of play off the bench. Devereaux Peters also added four points off the bench points. Chicago’s bench produced 16 points led by Clarissa Dos Santos with 10 points.
- The game began a string of six games in 13 days for the Lynx leading up to the All-Star break and five of the Lynx’ next eight opponents will be from the East, including two games each vs. the Sky and Connecticut.
Chicago Sky head coach and general manager Pokey Chatman
“I’ll start with two areas we discussed at halftime, and that was our ability to rebound the basketball. They had nine offensive rebounds in the first half, and if the stat sheet is correct, we only gave up two of those in the second half. We also talked about our turnovers. We had nine at the half and cut it down to three in the second half. That was crucial because we gave ourselves an opportunity to be better offensively. Early on we didn’t find a rhythm- I thought Cappie [Pondexter] really stepped up and kind of loosened the defense up. And then we went to a point there where we were using Elena [Delle Donne] as a decoy offensively. I thought we made big plays and we had to. I mean, it felt like Maya [Moore] made 15 threes. But the bottom line is, it’s a nice win against one of the best teams in the league.”
(On her positive reaction to the team’s defense…)
“You won’t see on the stat sheet, but we had 29 deflections. That kind of limits some things for them because we are flying around a little bit, we’re getting tips, we’re getting some steals, we’re getting out of transition. It was nice to keep them in the low 80s, but on top of that what I don’t want to go unrecognized is the fact that we were 21 for 23 from the free throw line. I specifically told the team at half, ‘We only shot two free throws.’ So it’s one thing for me to say it, but they go out there and execute it, and then we go 21 for 23 so that was huge as well.”
(On the fun of coaching…)
“Believe it or not, sometimes that’s one of the things I write down on my board. Have some fun! We’re living the dream: playing basketball and getting paid for it, so make relax and enjoy it. It’s nice being home.”
Chicago Sky forward Jessica Breland
(On what she did different tonight than other games…)
“We had time off and I think I’m adjusting well to playing the five position now so I think it’s a lot of little things that kind of add into it.”
(On improving for next game and keeping the flow going…)
“Rebound. You know I think the biggest thing I can do for my team is keep trying to crash the boards and box out. I think that would help a lot, going after the boards.”
Chicago Sky guard/forward Elena Delle Donne
(On defending Maya Moore…)
“It’s just fun to see where I’ve come from since my rookie year, and I’ve really taken so much pride in my defense over these years. I thought maybe changing her matchup and giving her someone with length might help a little bit. [Betnijah] Laney was doing a great job and was contesting everything, but Maya [Moore] was hitting shots and going off. We thought at that moment that it would be a good idea to change her look.”’
(On the Sky’s strong paint presence…)
“It’s huge. It’s been something we’ve focused on. Obviously, we wanted to win the battle of the boards and I think we lost that by one, but we’re improving and that’s what we want to see right now at this point in the season.
(Elena on team chemistry…)
“I think the chemistry has always been there, that hasn’t been a problem. We love this team and we get along great. We play really well together and that’s why the offense flows so well and hopefully the defense will continue to improve.”
Chicago Sky guard Cappie Pondexter
(On her 4th quarter spark…)
“To start, I thought we were a little timid on the offensive end and so I demanded the ball. I wanted to be aggressive to let the team know that we can win this game easily, especially being at home.”
Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve
(On the play of the Sky…)
“I give these guys credit. Cappie [Pondexter] had a huge game. You know, we tried to make everything hard for [Elena] Delle Donne and that’s sometimes what happens, not that Cappie [Pondexter] is a role player in any stretch, but they’re two superstars that played great and you’ve got to give credit to [Clarissa] Dos Santos who gave them ten off the bench. That was the part that we didn’t want to happen because we knew we had our hands full with a star player. So we didn’t get it done defensively but we’re looking forward to next week.”
(On the play of the Lynx…)
“I didn’t necessarily know that we moved the ball well I thought that when we did get easy [Shots] we didn’t convert. Not that we’re going to make all of our shots. I thought Seimone [Augustus] had some easy ones that didn’t fall for her. That’s all part of it. We felt like we identified some good things, especially early. Each team comes out with a game plan, I thought we executed ours really well early in the game and then they buckled down on defense. I thought that for the most part we ran our stuff pretty well but they made more plays then we did. If they score 90 it’s going to be hard for them to lose. ”
(On the play of Maya Moore…)
“If you’re around Maya [Moore] you know that she can miss five in a row and then she can come back and make five in a row, it’s just how Maya is she’s just a star player and she’s going to still find ways to help the team. She did have six assists in the first half so that was helpful to our team and then obviously she started making some of the perimeter shots and got us on a run and had us hanging in there. Her second half was really good and we needed it.”
Minnesota Lynx guard Seimone Augustus
(On what contributed to her shooting efficiency…)
“Just executing offensively, setting great screens, making great passes, and the shots just seemed to fall. That’s perfect execution on offense.”
(On the difficulty of stopping Cappie Pondexter and Elena Delle Donne…)
“It’s hard for any defensive game plan, how to game plan for [Elena] Delle Donne or Cappie [Pondexter] combined. You just try to make them take tough shots and tonight they were just on. They hit some contested shots. Players were there and they hit some great shots. Those are things you just have to live with, they are great players. You shake their hand and you keep pushing. But if you continue to do that you would hope that throughout the course of the game at some point they would stop falling, but tonight it was just their night. That’s what great players do, they make plays. ”
Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore
(On the Sky’s defense…)
“I thought they were pretty aggressive at times. We scored 83 points. I think there were some instances where I don’t think we were as patient. We settled for more jumpers. You know, I’m definitely one of those players that there’s a fine line between instinct and attacking the rim at the same time. We can be more efficient on offense cause they’re long. They’re going to get deflections and they’re going to get out on transitions. I think it’s more about continuing to be persistent about what we want on offense.”
(On improving defense for Sunday’s game…)
“Guarding the paint. We have to guard the paint much better. Make it harder for them to score in the paint and closing out quarters. Especially the fourth quarter that’s what we typically do really well. Let them get a rhythm towards the end of the fourth. Just continue to be aggressive and communicating on defense.”
(On how her mindset changed going into the fourth quarter…)
“My mindset never changes. I’m always looking to be aggressive and do what my team needs me to do in the moment. I’m always just sticking with it no matter if I’m shooting the lights out or if I can’t buy a basket. I’m going to continue to try and to scrap, to fight. Defensively I can always control how aggressive I am on defense and that generally gets me in a good rhythm and the team in a good rhythm. We can get stops and get out and run.”
By the Numbers
Points in the Paint: Lynx 28, Sky 32
Second Chance Points: Lynx 16, Sky 9
Fastbreak Points: Lynx 3, Sky 15
Biggest Lead: Lynx 9, Sky 9
Lead Changes: 17
Times Tied: 9