Courtney Vandersloot passes Lindsay Whalen on WNBA’s assists list in Sky’s OT win over Sun
She passed Whalen for third and had 16 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. Her 2,349th assist came on a pass to Emma Meesseman in overtime.
UNCASVILLE, Conn. — There’s something about overtime basketball in Connecticut. Those five extra minutes bring out something special in the Sky and Courtney Vandersloot.
In Game 1 of the semifinals last year against the Connecticut Sun, Vandersloot had the second triple-double in WNBA playoff history in the Sky’s OT win at Mohegan Sun Arena. On Sunday, she passed Lindsay Whalen (2,348) for third on the league’s all-time assists list (2,350) and had 16 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. Her 2,349th assist came on a pass to Emma Meesseman in overtime.
“Lindsay’s one of my favorite players of all time, too,” Vandersloot said. “It’s special to be mentioned among these players. I always say, I play with a bunch of bucket-getters.”
Allie Quigley came off the bench with less than three minutes to go in overtime to score five quick points and lead a Sky surge en route to their 95-92 victory against the Sun. Kahleah Copper had a game-high 27 points. Azura Stevens had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Sun had held opponents to 33.4 points in the paint, but by the half, they had given up 34 to the Sky. In the third quarter, they adjusted, allowing only eight and holding Copper scoreless. A fourth-quarter burst (13 points) from Copper helped the Sky outscore the Sun 62-56 in the paint.
“We stayed persistent in what we wanted to do,” coach/general manager James Wade said. “The fact that we were able to get the ball out and up the floor, change sides of the floor helped us.”
Candace Parker missed her second consecutive game with a non-COVID-related illness. When asked what symptoms Parker is experiencing, Wade said simply that she’s under the weather. He said her absence was an attempt to ensure she’ll be ready to go for the game against the Dallas Wings on Tuesday at Wintrust Arena.
For the Sky and Sun, who’ve already clinched playoff berths, these late-season games are about defending their seeding. The Las Vegas Aces, Seattle Storm and Washington Mystics also have clinched playoff spots. The fifth-place Mystics are 4œ games behind the Sky (23-7), who have the best record in the league.
“To be honest, we’re not paying attention to [the playoff race],” Vandersloot said Friday. “We’re focused on us, making sure we’re getting better. We have a lot of things to improve on.”
One of those areas is turnovers.
The Sky gave up 26 points off turnovers. The Sun erased the Sky’s 17-point advantage and took a one-point lead with under a minute to play in the half.
Two layups by Copper put the Sky back on top going into the break. Copper was holding her right hip after her second drive to the rim and remained on the floor for a minute after time expired in the second quarter. She was able to walk back to the locker room.
In his news conference after the Sky’s 89-81 victory Friday against the New York Liberty, Wade said Copper “literally has to get murdered” to get a foul call. On Sunday, she took repeated contact in the paint and didn’t go to the foul line until the fourth quarter.
Wade said Copper is banged up but anticipates she’ll be ready to go for the home game against the Wings. The Sky are 12-2 at Wintrust Arena. Their 10-game home winning streak is the best in franchise history.
They play four consecutive home games before concluding the regular season on the road against the Aces and Phoenix Mercury.