Dolson's big game lifts Sky to 78-68 win over Liberty (Jul 14, 2017)
NEW YORK (AP) Having Courtney Vandersloot back in the fold is making all the difference for the Chicago Sky.
Vandersloot missed most of the start of the season for overseas commitments then left again in June to play in the EuroBasket tournament for Hungary. Now the star point guard is starting to feel more comfortable on the court with a new system. She had 13 points and nine assists Friday night to help Chicago beat the New York Liberty 78-68 for its third consecutive win.
''It was hard coming in late and then leaving again and then coming back. Never done anything like that and it was difficult,'' said Vandersloot, who has averaged 11.3 assists in the three victories. ''Getting some practice in and getting in a good flow with our new coach and being on the same page. I'm getting more comfortable out there and luckily it's resulting in a couple wins.''
Stefanie Dolson scored 23 points to lead Chicago (6-12). Kahleah Copper added 13 points.
''It's big going into this four-game road trip we have,'' Vandersloot said. ''We were running out of time. We were saying we'd put it together and now it seems like we are. We're nowhere near where we want to be, but we feel good after these last three games.''
Chicago, which had dropped five of six before the current winning streak, was up 53-52 heading into the final quarter before scoring 14 of the first 17 points in the period. Allie Quigley, Vandersloot and Dolson hit 3-pointers during the burst. Dolson's shot capped the run and gave Chicago a 67-55 lead - it's biggest of the game.
New York (8-9) couldn't get within six the rest of the way. The loss overshadowed another strong game from Tina Charles, who had 21 points and 19 rebounds and became the franchise leader on the boards.
''To me it means I'm doing my job,'' Charles said about breaking New York's record. ''That's the best way I can put it. It's what my job description entails.''
The Liberty were back home after a long trip that saw them drop three of four games. They play three games at home before heading back out on the road after the All-Star break for five games.
''I think from the start of the game we came out good, we just couldn't make shots,'' said Shavonte Zellous, who had 14 points and 11 rebounds for New York. ''We'll get better. Eventually everything will fall for us.''
New York found itself down 10 in the first half before Charles got going. She finished the opening 20 minutes with 12 points and nine rebounds. The rest of the Liberty starters were just 5 for 24 from the field. Charles became the franchise's career rebounding leader in the first half, passing Tari Phillips, who grabbed 1,077 boards. Charles has 1,089 with New York and 2,499 in her career. That's eighth best in WNBA history, passing Michelle Snow.
HEADACHE: Cappie Pondexter missed her third straight game while dealing with a concussion. Coach Amber Stocks said that Pondexter is coming along and is in concussion protocol. The veteran guard is on the road trip with the team.
20-20: Charles was just short of the fourth 20-point, 20-rebound game of her career. All three of them came while playing for Connecticut with the last one coming on June 17, 2012.
Sky: Chicago continues its four-game road trip with a contest in Dallas on Sunday.
Liberty: New York continues a three-game homestand against Washington on Sunday.