WNBA: Playoff-bound Chicago Sky close season on high note, defeat Indiana Fever, 98-87
DIAMOND DeShields matched a career high with 30 points off the bench, and the Chicago Sky concluded the regular season with a victory going into the playoffs, 98-87 over the visiting Indiana Fever on Sunday.
Allie Quigley scored 15, Kahleah Copper 13 and reserve Astou NdourFall 12 for the Sky (16-16), who will be the sixth seed in the postseason, but had dropped four of their past five games. Chicago shot 49.3 percent from the field and used a 28-point third quarter to tire a depleted Indiana squad that played just six players.
Kelsey Mitchell scored a season-high 32 and Emma Cannon added 19 for the Fever (6-26), who — despite sitting last in the overall Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) standings and ending their season with a seventh straight loss — shot 47.8 percent from the field and didn’t make things easy for the Sky.
Chicago was behind 56-53 with 6:23 left in the left quarter when it began a 21-9 spurt that lasted the rest of the period to take control. DeShields, who went 8-of-13 from the field, tied the game with a 3 and recorded a layup after Candace Parker gave the Sky a two-point edge.
A Mitchell basket made the score 60-60, but DeShields gave Chicago the lead for good with a bucket at the 3:48 mark of the third. The Sky scored seven of the final eight points of the period, and Ndour-Fall opened the fourth with a basket to put the hosts ahead 77-65.
Indiana trailed 35-33 early in the second quarter, but back-to-back 3s from Mitchell sparked a 9-0 run that put the visitors up 42-35. However, the Sky regrouped and fought back with a 7-0 run, fueled by three straight points from DeShields, to tie the game at 42-42. The teams ended the first half locked at 46.
Six different players scored in the first quarter for Indiana, which hit 11 of its 21 shots in the period to take a 24-22 lead after the first 10 minutes.