Azurá Stevens, Courtney Vandersloot lead Sky past Liberty

Stevens had a season-high 25 points and Vandersloot finished with 19 points, 10 assists and four steals in the 101-85 victory Thursday night.

SHARE Azurá Stevens, Courtney Vandersloot lead Sky past Liberty
Azura Stevens signed a one-year contract extension with the Sky this week.

Sky forward Azura Stevens (right), who led the Sky to victory over the Liberty on Thursday night, passes the ball to teammate Gabby Williams.

Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP

Azura Stevens scored a season-high 25 points, Courtney Vandersloot had 19 points, 10 assists and four steals and the Sky beat the Liberty 101-85 on Thursday night in Bradenton, Florida.

Allie Quigley also scored 19 points for the Sky (9-4). Kahleah Copper added 14 points and Ruthy Hebard had 11.

Stevens scored 18 points in the first half on 7-for-9 shooting and Quigley added 13 as the Sky shot 54% en route to a 57-44 lead. Stevens and Quigley each made three three-pointers in the opening 20 minutes, helping the Sky make 9-for-15 from long range. The Liberty made just 1 of 10 from three-point range in the half.

“We told her to not think so much,” Sky coach James Wade said of Stevens. “We want her to just play and be herself.”

It worked.

“I mean, I just wasn’t overthinking,” Stevens said. “I think that’s been the thing that’s helped me the most — besides, obviously, like my teammates setting me up really well and pretty much making it really easy for me to score.”

The Sky finished 11-for-23 from behind the arc; the Liberty were 3-for-19. Jazmine Jones had a team-high 18 points for the Liberty (1-11), who have lost six straight.

“I think after every game we have to take things that we did well, and grow off those,” Vandersloot said. “We won the game, but we weren’t exactly happy with how we played, so we’ve got to learn from this game. We fouled [the Liberty] too many times. If we send teams to the free-throw line that many times, we’re not going to win a lot of games, so we have to find a way to defend without fouling.”

Fortunate break for Delle Donne

Former Sky star Elena Delle Donne has watched from afar as her Mystics teammates have struggled this season. Delle Donne opted out of the season because of her battle with chronic Lyme disease.

The WNBA denied her medical opt-out, but the Mystics are paying her full salary.

“It’s really hard when you have to choose between your health or a paycheck,” Delle Donne said in an interview with Time. “I’m blessed enough to have an organization that decided to take care of me, but . . . for those who can’t make that decision and have to go, it’s awful.”

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