It was an electrifying Friday night in South Loop at Wintrust Arena. A second-half eruption from the Atlanta Dream forced overtime, but the Chicago Sky ultimately prevailed by a score of 106-100.
Prior to the game, the Sky announced that Candace Parker would be out due to knee issues. Head coach James Wade said if it were a playoff game, Parker would have been playing.
It was Chicago’s game to lose as they took command early to build a 14-point halftime lead.
The Sky were rolling offensively. Emma Meesseman and Rebekah Gardner had 22 combined points. The team shot over 55 percent from the field and behind the arc.
Rhyne Howard, Atlanta’s rookie guard, played three minutes in the first half, all of which came at the beginning of the game. She rode the bench for most of the half due to foul trouble. Her absence allowed for the Sky to pick apart Atlanta’s defense. At one point, Chicago owned an 18-point lead.
But in the second half, the script flipped. Once Howard returned to the court, the Dream’s offense started to roll and eventually took the lead. Howard finished with 16 points, six rebounds, and three assists.
The Sky’s offense took off, especially from behind the three-point line. The team shot 14-for-25 (56%) from downtown against Atlanta, though Wade has previously said his group is not a three-point shooting team. He still stands by that, but will surely take the success from long-range.
“We shot 47% from the field. We are fourth in the league. We shot it well,” said Wade.
Six Sky players recorded double-digit points. Finals MVP Kahleah Copper led the way, especially in the clutch. She tied the game for her team by hitting one of her two free throws to send it into overtime.
“She came in focused and did her thing,” Wade said of Copper’s performance.
Copper scored a season-high 23 points while recording 10 rebounds and three assists, securing her first double-double of the season and propelling Chicago to victory.
In the end, the Sky emerged as winners even without their commander-in-chief, Candace Parker.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Chicago Sky are back on the road as they head to Indiana to take on the Fever on Sunday, June 19. Tip-off is at 2:00 p.m. CT and the game will air on Facebook and CW 26.
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