Sky beat Lynx at buzzer for third straight victory

The Sky’s game Sunday against the Lynx began with the team honoring Sylvia Fowles, its No. 2 overall draft pick in 2008 and one of the original faces of the franchise. Fowles will retire after the season following 15 years in the WNBA and seven with the Sky.

The game ended with Courtney Vandersloot draining a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Sky an 88-85 victory, their third straight win.

With seven seconds left, Lynx guard Kayla McBride tied the score at 85 with three free throws. Emre Vatansever, who filled in for general manager/coach James Wade after he entered health and safety protocols Sunday morning, called a timeout and drew up a play.

When it broke down, Vandersloot had one thought.

“Just get a shot up,” Vandersloot said. “At that point, I was like, I have to give us a chance to win the game. I was fortunate that one went in.”

Wade told the Sun-Times he was doing well and experiencing no symptoms. The Sky gave no timetable on his return. Kahleah Copper was out with a back injury, but Vatansever said he hopes she’ll be available Wednesday against the Sun.

Vandersloot led the Sky with 18 points. Candace Parker added 13 points and eight rebounds, and Emma Meesseman had 15 points.

“We have great players,” Vatansever said. “They know how to make plays, and they do. We don’t have to do extraordinary things. We keep it simple, and these players find each other and play for each other.”

Julie Allemand, who didn’t join the Sky until June 10 after completing her season overseas with Lyon Asvel, has been great at getting her teammates involved. In her first seven games, she’s averaging 3.6 assists in 16 minutes per game. On Sunday, she called her own number and played her most complete game of the season.

Six Sky players scored in double figures, including Allemand, who finished with 11 points, four assists and two rebounds.

“It was complicated for me this year overseas,” Allemand said. “When you have Sloot as an example, it’s amazing and easy. I’m watching her when she starts the game, on defense, offense, and I’m trying to do the same. I want the team to feel comfortable when I’m on the court and Sloot is on the bench.”

The victory closed a big week for the Sky. On Tuesday, they pulled off the largest comeback win in WNBA history, beating the Aces 104-95 after trailing by 28 points. On Thursday, Parker became the first player in league history to notch three career triple-doubles as the Sky beat the Sparks 82-59.

The Sky are playing team basketball, attacking opponents from all over the court. On Sunday, they shot 44% from three, outscored the Lynx 48-36 in the paint and had 19 points from their bench. In the absence of Wade and Copper, they showed their depth.

“This was a huge week for us,” Vandersloot said. “It showed what we’re capable of, that we’re always in a game and we can finish tight ones. This week showed our identity.”

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