After allowing 98 points in their season-opening overtime loss to the Los Angeles Sparks, the WNBA champion Chicago Sky got flat-out defensive Wednesday night.
Holding the New York Liberty to 7-of-35 shooting in the first half, Chicago established an insurmountable 19-point halftime on its way to a record-breaking 83-50 win that squared its record at 1-1.
The Sky will try to make it consecutive wins Saturday night in Minneapolis when they face the 0-3 Minnesota Lynx.
Chicago set a club record for allowing its fewest points in a game while limiting New York’s explosive offense to its lowest point total in eight years. It was also the largest margin of victory in Sky history, surpassing a 32-point win last year against Seattle.
Dana Evans, who tallied a career-high 24 points and four steals in the loss to Los Angeles, again led Chicago in scoring with 15. Evans went 3-for-3 from 3-point distance and bagged four rebounds and three assists in an impressive all-around outing, further suggesting the Sky are one of the league’s deepest teams.
“Dana is a really good player and she has a chip on her shoulder,” said Chicago coach James Wade.
The Sky also got a lift from 31-year old rookie Rebekah Gardner, a UCLA product who’s played overseas the last 10 years. Gardner scored 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting in her WNBA debut.
Meanwhile, Minnesota is still waiting for its first bit of good news, aside from the play of 36-year old center Sylvia Fowles, who’s in her final season. Retiring at the end of this season, Fowles is averaging 18.3 points and 8.7 rebounds, numbers that look similar to her career norms of 15.8 ppg and 9.8 boards.
But the Lynx are short-handed and struggling. They dropped an 82-76 decision Tuesday night at rebuilding Indiana, allowing the Fever to hit 9 of 20 3-pointers while making only 4 of 19 themselves. Minnesota also coughed up 19 turnovers, leading to 24 points.
“We’re going to spend our time tweaking and working and finding the right combination,” said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve.
–Field Level Media