Sky-Liberty Preview

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Coming off an unprecedented performance in league history that helped deliver a key victory, Courtney Vandersloot and the Chicago Sky seek their first three-game winning streak of the season Thursday night when they face the New York Liberty.

Vandersloot, who has set the WNBA single-season record for assists each of the last two years, became the first player to total at least 15 points, 15 assists, and five rebounds in a game. She reached those exact figures in the first two categories - while matching a career high in assists -- and pulled down six boards as Chicago (8-4) completed a season sweep of Las Vegas with an 84-82 win Tuesday night.

Vandersloot set up the go-ahead basket by Azura Stevens with 2.9 seconds to play, helping the Sky avoid what would have been a crushing late-game collapse as they led by 11 with 2:40 remaining.

"(Vandersloot) is the best at what she does. I've played with her for three years overseas, so I know what she's capable of," Aces guard Kayla McBride said told the Las Vegas Review-Journal about her Sky counterpart. "She's the head of their snake, for sure. She gets everybody in the right spots."

It was the 32nd career double-double for Vandersloot, who also matched a franchise record with 10 first-half assists. Stevens finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and a career-best five blocks. Chicago has won back-to-back games on three occasions in the "wubble," but last won three in a row Aug. 20-25.

The Liberty, who are a league-worst 1-10, are wrapping up a murderous three-game stretch in which they have already lost to two of the top four teams in the standings - Seattle and Minnesota - by a combined 71 points as their current losing streak has reached five games.

New York was overwhelmed by WNBA-leading Seattle 105-64 on Tuesday night, falling behind by 33 points in the first half after shooting 28.6 percent. Kia Nurse, mired in a season-long shooting funk, showed signs of coming around as she went 4 of 8 from 3-point range and 6 of 12 overall while scoring 21 points.

The Liberty continue to be without No. 1 overall pick Sabrina Ionescu, who is sidelined with a sprained ankle. Fellow rookie Jazmine Jones reached double figures for the fourth straight game in Tuesday's loss and is averaging 14.5 points in that span.

Chicago averaged 97 points in sweeping the three meetings last year, with Vandersloot averaging 19.3 points and 8.7 assists.