Sky, Liberty close out back- to-back in Chicago
The Chicago Sky will go for their fourth win in a row when they host the New York Liberty on Sunday evening in the back end of a home-and-home series at Wintrust Arena near downtown Chicago.
Chicago (6-9) is coming off a hard-fought 103-99 win over the Liberty on Friday in White Plains, N.Y.
The Sky return home playing their best basketball in weeks. The young, streaky team opened the season with back-to-back wins, then dropped nine of 10 games before reviving its playoff chances.
Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot is hopeful the momentum will continue at home.
“It’s a good road win for us,” Vandersloot told reporters after scoring 14 points in the victory over the Liberty on Friday. “Good teams win with a lot of people (stepping) up. Those are the types of wins you really enjoy on the road.
“We play this team in less than 48 hours. We’ve got to regroup and build off this one.”
New York (4-11) knows it needs a better performance on defense in order to avoid another tough loss. The team has dropped five consecutive games to plunge toward the bottom of the WNBA standings. The five-game skid marks the longest losing streak for New York since 2014.
Forward Tina Charles scored a game-high 24 points to give the Liberty a chance at a late comeback Friday. Veteran guard Epiphanny Prince added 21 points, but the Sky held firm with two free throws in the final seconds.
Charles said she and her teammates needed to stay mentally focused.
“When you’re in the midst of a season not going your way, you can’t focus on the frustrating parts, just the good things that come out of it,” Charles said to reporters. “At the end of the day, we need to get stops. …
“Down the stretch, we need to focus on the defensive end. Offensively, things are starting to come together. It looks like we’re getting over that hump. (Prince) is coming into her own.”
New York will need to focus on stopping Sky guard Allie Quigley, who leads the team in scoring at 16.2 points per game. Rookie Diamond DeShields is averaging 13.7 points, and Cheyenne Parker (10.7) and Stefanie Dolson (10.0) also are scoring in double digits.
Charles leads New York with 19.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Kia Nurse (10.3 points) and Prince (9.3 points) round out the top three in scoring.
Liberty forward Marissa Coleman has missed the past three games because of a sprained right ankle, and her status for Sunday night’s game is uncertain. She is averaging 5.8 points and 3.2 rebounds.