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No sophomore slump for Sky guard Diamond DeShields

Diamond DeShields has been on a tear since her All-Star appearance last month.

Diamond DeShields has been on a tear since her All-Star appearance last month.
NBAE/Getty Images

Diamond DeShields wants to remind everyone that her All-Star nod this season wasn’t a fluke.

In the Sky’s 93-85 loss to the Lynx Tuesday in Minneapolis, DeShields flashed her greatness. She scored 19 points and recorded five assists and four rebounds.

DeShields has been on a tear since her All-Star appearance last month. She’s scored double-digit points in all 11 games since the late-summer break. And Tuesday was her eighth time since that mark that she’s scored 16 or more points.

DeShields second-year development is the main reason why coach James Wade believes she’ll be a key part of the Sky’s future.

“Diamond, she does have the potential to be the all-around superstar we need,” Wade said.

DeShield’s All-Star recognition was a credit to hard work. But just because she accomplished her personal goal this season doesn’t mean she’s let off the gas.

Besides her confidence, one of the many traits that makes DeShields so special is her self-awareness. She recognizes that she has plenty of room to grow.

“She’s been coachable and as a result, her IQ has gotten better this year, and that’s something that I’ve been impressed with,” center Stefanie Dolson recently said. “She’s always working on her game, getting extra shots in, so she’s been a big reason why we’ve been so successful this season.”

The best word to describe DeShields is fearless.

It doesn’t matter how large her opponents are or who she’s matching up against, DeShields, who is 6’1, will aggressively drive to the basket and make hard contact with anyone. She hits the floor harder and more frequently than anyone in the league.

DeShields is also fearless when it comes to shooting. And she’s averaging 15.7 points on 38.4% shooting this season, which is one point more than her 2018 average.

Wade doesn’t mind DeShields’ slight dip in her field-goal percentage from last season. He wants her to keep shooting.

“I want her to stay aggressive and continue to look for shots because that’s a luxury for us,” Wade said. “Diamond is someone who can go get us a bucket. As she gets older, as she gets more seasoned and really knows how to pick and choose her spots and us helping her with it, you’ll see her percentage go up.”

Wings with DeShields skillset and athleticism are a rarity in the WNBA. Her speed makes her deadly in transition offense. She leads the league in fast-break points, averaging 3.7 per game.

DeShields keeps her game at a high intensity even when shots aren’t going her way. She’s the player that picks her teammates up when they need it most.

“That’s just me doing my job,” DeShields previously said. “My teammates trust me to have the ball ... and I’m supposed to score. I’m just trusting myself and trusting the work that I’ve put in.”

Note: Point guard Courtney Vandersloot broke her single-season assist record Tuesday with an inbound lob to DeShields, who sank a floater.

Last season, Vandersloot set the single-season record with 258 assists last season. She finished with 10 helpers against the Lynx, raising her season total to 263. She has four more regular-season games to pad her record.

Vandersloot is also on pace to finish first in assist average in the WNBA for the third consecutive year. She’s averaging 9.1 assists this season, up from 8.6 in 2018.