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Chicago Ends Washington's Winning Streak and First-Place Standing with 85-78 Victory

August 24, 2019 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - Chicago Sky News Release

KEY RUNS

- Chicago kicked off the game with an 8-0 run to take control early in the contest

- Washington stormed back with a 12-3 run of their own to keep the game close 12-11, midway through the first quarter

- After the Sky extended their lead to 30-23 with 8:00 remaining in the second quarter, the Mystics stormed back with a 15-0 run over a two-minute span to take a 38-30 lead

- Chicago wrestled back momentum with a 18-6 run through six and a half minutes in the third quarter to take the lead 60-57

KEY STATS

- Washington scored more points in the second quarter (31) than they did in the entire second half (29)

- The Sky outscored the Mystics 40-36 in the paint

- Chicago held a 40-30 rebound advantage

- The Sky held the edge in fast break scoring 17-12

CHICAGO NOTES

- Chicago's win snaps a nine-game losing streak against the Mystics

- The victory was also the first time Elena Delle Donne was defeated by her former team

- Diamond DeShields eclipsed the 20-point mark for the eighth time this season, the most on the team

- Stefanie Dolson recorded a season-high 5 turnovers and matched her season high with six free-throws made

- Astou Ndour set a season high with three assists

- Courtney Vandersloot matched her season high with three steals

WASHINGTON NOTES

- Shatori Walker-Kimbrough recorded a season-high four steals

- It was Emma Meesseman's third straight game with a made 3, her second such streak of the season

- Elena Delle Donne matched her season high with three turnovers in the game

- Aerial Powers recorded her sixth straight game with double figure scoring

- The Mystics shot under 30% from three-point range for the seventh time this season. They are 1-6 in those games

POSTGAME QUOTES

SKY GENERAL MANAGER & HEAD COACH JAMES WADE

On clinching a playoff berth on Thursday:

"It's a big deal. I wanted to be as humble as possible with us clinching the playoffs, because I wasn't here and out of respect. I want us to be better. Although I'm very appreciative of clinching, we have our eyes set on bigger things. I don't want to get too excited, because I expect that of them and they expect that out of themselves. So, we're happy and appreciative, but we know we have to keep marching forward. We know for us to be good, we have to beat a team like this, especially at home."

On what he was looking for from the bench:

"We were looking for them to be disruptive, and they were. We wanted [the Mystics] to turn their backs toward us, so they're not seeing the floor as easily. When [the Mystics] are in attack mode, they're dangerous, but when we're defensively engaged and disruptive and looking for deflections, I think we can beat anybody. We expect that from the bench, because we have good length coming off the bench, good athleticism coming off the bench, so that's what we expect from them."

On keeping Elena Delle Donne in check offensively:

"When we have players that aren't in foul trouble, we're able to be a little bit fresher. The fact that we were able to keep constant length on her, without having to worry about fouls or being a little hesitant at times. I thought Astou [Ndour] did a good job of working her early, I thought 'Stef' [Stefanie Dolson] the same thing, and I thought Cheyenne [Parker] also. We executed the schemes that we wanted, but when you have foul trouble, sometimes you have a player out there a little bit too extended, and sometimes they can get tired and have a mental breakdown or mental collapse where they're resting a little too much. We were able to play with fresher legs and fresher minds today, which was good."

SKY FORWARD DIAMOND DESHIELDS

On securing a key rebound in the final minute:

"I just seen the shot clock winding down and I knew that I've seen her retreat dribbling. So, at that point I'm like a shark smelling blood and so I just kind of pressed up on her and you know just wanted to see what she had. I feel like I match up with anybody in the league as a defender so I was confident and was able to get that stop."

On the final rebound review:

"It was a real big rebound for us, because I knew we were able to secure a no-board, we were able to get the next possession and take more time off the clock. Ultimately, you want to keep the ball away from them. I mean, the fact that they reviewed it, I knew it was our ball so I wasn't really too concerned about that and then at that point, you know, Sloot kind of handle the rest, so, shout out to her."

On her non-stop shot-taking the last three games:

"I'm tired of my teammates and my coaches telling me not to think and telling me to be more aggressive and the last three games I haven't heard it from them, so I'd rather that than the latter, so as long as I can remain efficient and help more than harm, I'm going to continue to take those shots. I mean, they're open shots, they're good shots for me, good quality shots and my teammates and my coaches trust me taking them, so I'm going to keep doing that."

SKY GUARD COURTNEY VANDERSLOOT

On the MVP chants she received Friday night:

"It made me miss my free throw. No, I had a real surreal moment out there thinking, wow, this is really me out here and they're chanting MVP. They may be a little biased, but I'm cool with it. I'm gonna roll with it."

On the injury she suffered in the second quarter:

"I'm feeling pretty good. I rolled my ankle. It's kind of a chronic thing, it's nothing new, something I've played with for a while now. Initially it always feels pretty bad, but when adrenaline gets kicked in, I don't feel it anymore."

On beating the Mystics:

"We've known all along that we can compete with the best teams in the league, and this is kind of the proof I guess in a way. Because we can say it over and over again, but until you do it, but moving forward this gives us a lot of confidence and we have to see them again, which is good, and we have to see Minnesota again. We have a really tough schedule, so we have to beat a lot of really good teams going forward, and it's gonna prepare us very well for the playoffs."

MYSTICS HEAD COACH MIKE THIBAULT

On thoughts for tonight's loss to the Sky:

"I thought we got worked down the stretch of the game. We scored more points in the second quarter than we did in the entire second half. They pressured every catch. I thought we struggled with turnovers. We're the lowest turnover team in the league and tonight we did a bad job of taking care of the ball. I think this is a game that probably showed why we missed Kristi Tolliver to take pressure off of everybody. The game changes because of that. But we had chances to win the game and we just made mistakes down the stretch and they outplayed us. They worked harder than we did I thought. And they had people step up and make some big shots."

On what was working so well for Chicago during their runs:

"Well I thought they moved the ball better than us. They put us in some tough positions defensively and they took advantage. Astou made some threes. DeShields came up with some offensive boards. They got some second shots. And then I thought that their defense got them going offensively. They just made us struggle tonight. It was one of those games. I felt like we played like we practiced the last couple of days: just not quite sharp."

On some takeaways for the team to have from playing in a playoff atmosphere on the road:

"I think what you take away is that you have games where the other team' is going to test you physically. They are going to see what they can get away with -- test the officials. You're not going to get calls some nights. You got to play through all that and figure out a way to do it regardless. We have had a great stretch on the road. We have won 10 road games so far. Maybe it just caught up to us a little bit. But it was a different night."

On Aerial Powers night:

"She struggled. She didn't make shots tonight. I thought she got caught up. I don't know. I don't want to say much without watching the film. But when you shoot a bad night, everything looks bad. She made hustle plays but we couldn't make up for them by making shots on the other end."

MYSTICS FORWARD ELENA DELLE DONNE

On defensive struggles against the Sky:

"Defensively we were just a step slow. And then they were really picking apart the mismatches. Obviously, Sloot is a great point guard, so she can really pick people out and find where the mismatch was, and we weren't able to get people to the right positions in time."

On the team's struggles from behind the three-point line:

"I don't know. Just shots weren't falling. And you got to learn from nights like this because you can't live and die by the three. You [have] to be able to still defend, still keep energy on defense, and I think we are allowing our poor offense to affect our defense."

MYSTICS GUARD AERIAL POWERS

On takeaways from tonight's game:

"Defensively we should have been better. And rebounding as well. I thought like offensively we didn't do as well because our defense started lacking. I feel like we were all over the place."

On the Sky's adjustments to pressuring the Mystics' guards:

"I think we just got to work harder at getting the ball. They were pressuring our guards pretty heavy. Even the ones without the ball. So I feel like if we would have done better with less handoffs, we would have played a lot better. The handoffs and everything didn't allow us to get in our rhythm."

On the Chicago's increased physicality:

"They were definitely more physical than they have been for sure. I don't think we play them anymore. But if we see them in the playoffs we will have to be way more physical than we were today."

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