Sea­son-high show­ing by Stevens

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS -

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 freethrow 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.”

PHE­LAN M. EBENHACK/AP

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

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