It has been over a month since the Chicago Sky has won back-to-back games. After upsetting the Dallas Wings on July 22 with a season-high 114 points, it seemed as though the Sky could bring in momentum against the Sparks.
Candace Parker had other ideas.
The captain of the all-star game propelled Los Angeles (15-10) to a 93-76 win over the Sky (8-17) on Sunday night. Parker led the way with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists. All five of Los Angeles’ starters scored 11 or more points in the contest. The Sparks’ other all-star, Chelsea Gray, had 11 points and nine assists on the night.
Despite what the score suggests, the Sky held their own against one of the elite teams in the WNBA. Stephanie Dolson combatted Parker’s almost triple-double with 20 points, six rebounds and seven assists of her own. It marked the fifth straight game where she scored in double-figures.
After recording the seventh triple-double in WNBA history against the Wings, Courtney Vandersloot almost achieved the feat again. The seven-year veteran had 15 points, ten assists and six rebounds to finish out the game.
However, personal stats had no effect on the moods of the two Sky players after the game. Only Parker and the lopsided third quarter were on their minds.
“I think they exposed us defensively,” said Vandersloot.
“I don’t know what she had, but I felt like [Candace] Parker took over in the third quarter. Whether it was scoring, passing or assisting she was just doing anything she wanted. We can’t beat them if we let her do that.”
Going into the second half, the Sky was only down 38-40. It wasn’t until the Sparks went on an 11-4 run in the first four minutes of the third quarter when things started to fall apart for Chicago. The team’s four turnovers combined with Parker’s ten points in the quarter thwarted the Sky’s chances of mounting a comeback. LA outscored Wintrust Arena’s residents 31-21 in the third.
After the game, head coach Amber Stocks said that there are a lot of “positives to take away” but challenged her younger players.
“One of [the positives] is that our experienced players continue to play well and lead,” said Stocks. “[Vandersloot] and Stefanie [Dolson] are doing a great job of leading and setting the tone and standard of Chicago basketball.”
“Our younger players are making some mistakes, and they are going to follow, adjust and grow.”
The Sky head on the road to face the Phoenix Mercury on July 25th before going into the all-star break.