Sky win 73-65 in Atlanta after nearly blowing 20-point lead

Kahleah Copper led the Sky with a season-high 21 points and eight rebounds. Emma Meesseman added 16 points and six rebounds, and Candace Parker finished with nine points, six rebounds and five assists.

SHARE Sky win 73-65 in Atlanta after nearly blowing 20-point lead
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Courtney Vandersloot made a three-pointer in the first two minutes Friday against the Atlanta Dream, giving the Sky an early lead and putting herself ahead in a more personal competition.

Vandersloot and Allie Quigley are the Sky’s longest-tenured players and the franchise’s all-time leading scorers. Over the last two seasons, they’ve gone back and forth in the top spot. They entered the game tied at 3,389 career points with the Sky.

By the end of the game, the Sky (6-3) had secured a 73-65 victory, and Vandersloot, who had nine points, six assists and three rebounds, claimed the top spot on the team’s all-time scoring list (3,398).

“I wasn’t aware they were going back and forth,” Sky coach/general manager James Wade said before the game. “I think it’s pretty cool.”

Wade has preached playing with a sense of urgency through all four quarters. The Sky opened on a 24-4 run, showing that the message had been received, but they struggled to maintain that dominance.

The Sky lead the league in fourth-quarter points, but with their firepower and depth, they shouldn’t be crawling back into games. They almost handed the Dream a victory with late-game turnovers, finishing with 16, five in the fourth quarter. But they closed the game on a 15-5 run to seal the win.

“It was important to show we can start off well,” Wade said. “Then we stopped doing what we did to get there. It was a tough game for us, but we were able to come out on the other side.”

Kahleah Copper led the Sky with a season-high 21 points and eight rebounds. Emma Meesseman added 16 points and six rebounds, and Candace Parker finished with nine points, six rebounds and five assists.

Vandersloot has been a lifeline for the Sky when the offense has appeared lifeless. She went scoreless in the fourth but had two assists and a rebound. Parker was able to turn it on late.

Tied at 62 with four minutes left, Parker worked her defender and made a 19-foot jump shot to give the Sky the lead for good.

“That’s what she does,” Wade said. “She’s been in so many of those situations that it’s second nature for her to do so. It’s a big-time player making a big-time play.”

In their last three games, the Sky have shot poorly from three-point range. And against the Dream, they shot 26.3% but worked their inside game.

Atlanta was the top-ranked defensive team coming into the game, but the Dream struggled to slow the Sky’s pace. They had previously limited their opponents to 26.9 points in the paint but gave up 36 against the Sky. Meesseman once again showed her defensive prowess, getting into passing lanes and creating deflections that led to easy transition baskets. The Sky outscored the Dream 12-3 in fast-break points.

Li Yueru has not been with the team since its victory Tuesday against the Phoenix Mercury and was listed as out for personal reasons.

Wade said she’s doing fine but didn’t specify if she’ll be available Sunday against the Washington Mystics at Wintrust Arena.

In her first two appearances against the Las Vegas Aces and Mercury, she scored four points in eight minutes.

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