Delle Donne, Sky hold off Dream’s rally, 100-96 in OT
ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — Elena Delle Donne scored a career-high 45 points, Cappie Pondexter moved into eighth place on the WNBA’s career scoring list and the Chicago Sky beat the Atlanta Dream 100-96 in overtime Wednesday.
Chicago limited Atlanta to two points in the first 4 minutes of overtime, but Angel McCoughtry’s 3-pointer pulled Atlanta to 98-96 with 8.4 seconds left. Delle Donne sealed it with two free throws with 6 seconds remaining and blocked her sixth shot on Atlanta’s final possession.
“We just wanted to win,” Delle Donne said. “At this point, being 3-3, we wanted to show that we could be consistent and put two wins together. So, that was the biggest focus. It wasn’t even about who the opponent was or what happened in that last game. We needed a win, and we were desperate for one.”
Delle Donne set a WNBA record by making 19 consecutive free throws, passing McCoughtry’s previous mark of 17. The 6-foot-5 star also had the sixth highest point total in a game, six short of the league record.
“My foul shot is something I’ve worked since probably eighth grade,” Delle Donne said. “I changed it in the eighth grade to simplify it so it’s just something I’ve worked on for a really long time. In pressure situations, it’s needed. We couldn’t miss or we’d lose the game.”
She’s averaging 31.6 points a game and has 221 total points for Chicago (4-3). That’s the most to start a season for a player’s first seven games, easily surpassing the 193 that Maya Moore had last season.
Delle Donne also had 11 rebounds for her third consecutive double-double. Pondexter hit a 3-pointer from the wing with 7:07 left in the third quarter to pass Katie Douglas on the WNBA’s scoring list. She finished with 19 points.
McCoughtry had 34 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta (3-6). The Dream were without Tiffany Hayes, the team’s second-leading scorer, and Aneika Henry, both at the European Games.
“We’re really aggressive teams and with Angel, you know she’s going to make some incredible shots,” Delle Donne said. “She plays good defense, she goes for steals and you have to be careful when she’s guarding you. Angel never fails to disappoint, you just try to contain her.”
Chicago led by as many as 17 points on Courtney Vandersloot’s 3-pointer with 2:44 left in the third. But Atlanta came back, outscoring Chicago 16-7 to start the fourth quarter to get within 76-73 on Roneeka Hodges’ free throw.
Chicago made its first 22 free throws, but missed two in the final minute of the fourth quarter. Atlanta’s McCoughtry made a layup with 8.3 seconds left to tie the game at 86. Delle Donne turned it over on the ensuing possession and Atlanta’s Sancho Lyttle missed a runner at the buzzer. It was Chicago’s second consecutive overtime game.
On June 19, Atlanta beat Chicago 74-73 on McCoughtry’s 16-foot jumper at the buzzer.