Courtney Vandersloot spearheads 26-8 run in 4th quarter to take down Chicago Sky

The Chicago Sky looked like they were the right team to end the Liberty’s five-game winning streak entering Sunday. They fought with the Libs in a see-saw battle that featured 11 ties and lead changes apiece.

Then, the Libs flipped the switch. Sandy Brondello’s team opened the fourth quarter on a 22-0 run to silence the Sky and secure a 86-69 victory at Wintrust Arena. Former Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot spearheaded the run, hitting three treys to contribute to the assault. The guard finished with 20 points, 10 assists, six steals, five rebounds and two blocks.

The Sky went from down two to 20 points in a matter of minutes after falling victim to the Eastern Conference’s superteam.

The Liberty were able to get their sixth straight win after starting the game with some lackadaisical play that threatened to ruin the win streak.

No team was able to lock down defensively in the first half. Both teams got open looks — some were missed —  after racing down the floor following defensive rebounds.

Vandersloot — in her second away game at Wintrust Arena after departing the Sky in the offseason — took advantage of the heightened pace and stuffed the statsheet. She finished the first half with 10 points, five assists, four rebounds, four steals and a block while shooting 4-for-8 from the field. Her efforts led to the Libs entering halftime up five.

Before the Libs ran away with the game in the second half, the two teams opened the matchup like they were on the second game of a back-to-back.

Two minutes before halftime, Kahleah Copper dribbled past Jonquel Jones on the perimeter and felt no resistance while completing an easy layup.

Liberty guard Jocelyn Willoughby then received the ensuing inbounds pass and made a straight line to the rim for an easy layup, too.

The same matador defense afforded Betnijah Laney with three easy layups in the first quarter.

Copper attempted to carry her team knowing each game down the stretch is very crucial for the Sky. Chicago entered Sunday holding on to the eighth seed, owning the tiebreaker over the Los Angeles Sparks for the final playoff spot. The loss now put them in ninth place, with the Sparks set to take on the Washington Mystics in Los Angeles.

Copper already had two performances with at least 20 points against the Libs and she recorded her third Sunday while fighting for the team’s playoff’s lives.

She contributed 23 points while shooting 9-for-17 from the field. Unfortunately for her, she was neutralized in the final quarter and stood no chance against the Liberty’s 26-8 run to end the matinee matchup.

The Sky will continue to fight for their postseason lives on the road against the Indiana Fever on Tuesday. The Libs will also hit the road to take on the Dallas Wings on Tuesday.

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