WNBA: Delle Done and Chicago Make First Visit to Washington
Led by the WNBA’s scoring machine Elena Delle Donne, the Chicago Sky invades the Verizon Center to meet the Washington Mystics in a late Sunday afternoon matinee beginning at 4:00 p.m.
The Sky has been the WNBA’s road warriors to start the season. This will be their seventh road game in their first nine contests, although for Delle Donne it is a psuedo homecoming considering the short distance from D.C. to the University of Delaware where she excelled not far from her home in Wilmington.
Vice President Biden, a fellow alum, is a Delle Donne fan and attended seceral of her games with the Blue Hens.
Meanwhile, after stumbling out the gate with losses in two of their first three games, the Sky enter Sunday’s first of five meetings against Washington riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak.
Both Chicago and Washington sport 5-3 records. Each team is two games behind the 7-1 Connecticut Sun at the quarter poll of the WNBA season.
Each squad played Friday night with mixed results.
The Sky rode the tandem of veteran guards Cappie Pondexter and Allie Quigley, who combined for 40 points, to claim an 83-77 victory on the road over Indiana. Meanwhile, the Mystics fell to the Atlanta Dream for the second time this season, 83-80, despite 18 points from Ivory Latta.
In the win over the Fever, Delle Donne posted her fourth straight double-double (14 points, 14 rebounds). It was the first time this season that the WNBA’s leading scorer failed to score at least 24 points. Of course, she was the talk of the league following her career best 45-point performance in a 100-96 overtime win over Atlanta earlier this week.
Pondexter led the Sky with 23 points on 10-for-17 shooting – her third game with 20 or more points this season. Quigley added 17, while Courtney Vandersloot contributed 13 points, seven assist and six rebounds. Chicago finished with 11 offensive rebounds on the night and outscored the Fever 16-2 in second-chance points.
“Obviously when you can get a win on the road against a very good team, it’s positive,” Sky coach Pokey Chatman said following the Fever game. “More importantly for us, it was the second [half] on defense. We gave up 52 points in the first half and 25 in the second.
"We have to make sure that we continue improving on that end of the floor. It was nice to see us play off of Elena Delle Donne. You know she’s been putting up crazy numbers so they sent a double team. And it was nice to see my team make some reads and get [the ball] to open players. I think Cappie Pondexter and Courtney Vandersloot really stepped up.”
The Mystics have done a great job of immediately overcoming defeats this season. They have followed each loss with a win. Each of Washington’s three losses has been by four points or less. Washington will be looking to rebounding literally after being outrebounded by a combined 71-48 in its last two games against Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Washington has grabbed 24 rebounds in each of its last two games. It’s a number that should improve once Kia Vaughn returns to the lineup.
Emma Meesseman (14 points), Stefanie Dolson (12) and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (10) also scored in double figures for the Mystics. Meesseman has scored 20 or more points in three straight home games for Washington, which was outscored 21-9 in the third quarter against Atlanta.
“They outplayed us particularly in the third quarter,” Mystic coach Mike Thibault said. “The difference in the game was offensive rebound points and turnovers. It seems like a broken record for me against them. They got 72 points and 42 of them came off of offensive boards and our turnovers.”
The game against Chicago begins an odd stretch in which Washington will play four games over an 18-day period. The next home game for the Mystics will be against the New York Liberty on Thursday, July 9 at 11:30 a.m.
SKY FEATURED ON ESPN2 PRIDE NIGHT TELECAST: For the second consecutive year, the WNBA is celebrating inclusion and equality throughout the month of June as part of WNBA Pride month.
The league will also celebrate WNBA Pride with a national television broadcast featuring the New York Liberty and Chicago Sky on Tuesday, June 30 (8 p.m. ET on ESPN2). The telecast will include in-game Pride related content and the WNBA Pride logo on courtside signage.
“The WNBA embraces people of every gender and sexual orientation,” said WNBA President Laurel J. Richie. “We are very excited to once again celebrate our diverse fanbase in partnership with our teams, partners and fans during WNBA Pride month.”
The WNBA is promoting Pride with an integrated marketing, media, grassroots and social responsibility program. Beginning in June and continuing throughout the season, the league and its teams’ Pride content, events and schedules will be posted on WNBA.com/pride and shared through the league’s social media channels with the hashtag #wnbapride.
Fans can purchase WNBA Pride T-shirts designed by adidas, the league’s official oncourt uniform and apparel provider, which are available on WNBASTORE.com. Proceeds will benefit GLSEN, a long-time WNBA partner.
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