After Elena Delle Donne and Angel McCoughtry both delivered memorable performances in the season series so far, McCoughtry is struggling heading into Round 3.
In a matchup between the league’s top two scorers, the Chicago Sky go after their fifth straight home win Tuesday night against an Atlanta Dream team slogging through its longest road stretch of the season.
Delle Donne enjoyed the best game of her MVP-caliber season the last time Chicago hosted Atlanta on June 24. She had a career-high 45 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks while sealing a 100-96 overtime victory with two free throws in the final seconds.
McCoughtry finished with 34 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in that contest after the star forward hit a 16-footer at the buzzer to give the Dream a 74-73 home win June 19.
Delle Donne, who had 26 points and 10 rebounds in that first matchup, is scoring a league-best 24.3 per game, while McCoughtry is second at 20.9. They’ll make up two-fifths of the Eastern Conference lineup in the All-Star Game. Atlanta reserve Shoni Schimmel was also voted in as a starter.
"I want to beat Atlanta. I want to go into the break with a win," Chicago coach Pokey Chatman said. "I want that feeling of playing well against a good team so they can rest and the rest of the world can enjoy some of the athletes at the All-Star break."
McCoughtry will try to get back on track as the Dream conclude the first leg of a season-high six-game road stretch. She’s averaged 16.3 points on 25.5 percent shooting during a 1-2 start to the trip, but only needs four points to reach 4,000 for her career.
Delle Donne had totaled 25 points on 9-of-30 shooting in her previous two games before leading the way Sunday with 29 and 13 rebounds in a 93-82 home win over San Antonio.
Allie Quigley added 15 points, Courtney Vandersloot had 14 and eight assists and Cappie Pondexter chipped in with 12 points. Pondexter ranks in the league’s top 10 with 16.4 points per game.
Chicago, which leads the WNBA in shooting percentage (46.3) and scoring average (85.1), will try to keep Atlanta reeling defensively after it allowed Seattle to shoot 56.9 percent in Saturday’s 86-73 defeat.
"(Delle Donne and Pondexter) do it in so many different ways," Vandersloot said. "It’s really easy for me to get them the ball and then we have people who come in and knock down shots. So we’re playing really well together and that’s why our offense is flowing so well."
The Sky (10-6) have won four straight at Allstate Arena by an average of 16.5 points. They’ve also won five consecutive regular-season meetings with East-worst Atlanta (7-9), though they lost there in Game 2 of last year’s three-game first-round playoff series.
The Dream’s Sancho Lyttle, who had 15 points and 10 boards in last month’s meeting at Allstate, could miss her fifth straight contest due to a foot injury.