Sky beat Liberty behind Elena Delle Donne’s 23 points
BY DOUG FEINBERG Associated Press May 17, 2014 9:46PM
Updated: June 23, 2014 1:06PM
NEW YORK — Elena Delle Donne scored 23 points and the Chicago Sky spoiled the New York Liberty’s return to Madison Square Garden with a 79-65 win Saturday night.
Jessica Breland added 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Courtney Vandersloot had 12 points for the Sky (2-0).
The Liberty had played their home games the past three seasons in New Jersey while MSG underwent a $1 billion transformation. The game marked the home debut for Liberty center Tina Charles, who the Liberty acquired in a blockbuster draft night trade with the Connecticut Sun. The New York native had 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Liberty (1-1).
With the game tied at 55 entering the fourth quarter, Delle Donne’s three-point play started a 15-4 run to begin the period. Vandersloot had five straight points during the game-changing burst.
The Sky have won their first two games despite missing stars Sylvia Fowles (hip) and Epiphanny Prince (personal reasons). Prince told The Associated Press that she was burned out from playing year round since leaving Rutgers after her junior year.
She said she expects to be back with the team in the next few weeks. Fowles will be out a bit longer while recovering from hip surgery.
The Sky are coming off a breakthrough season last year. They were the top seed in the Eastern Conference and made the playoffs for the first time.
New York was coming off a dismal 11-23 year. With Charles on the squad, better things are expected. Coach Bill Laimbeer said before the game that he has had the entire team for practice for only one day, as Charles and Cappie Pondexter were out for the preseason while finishing their winter seasons overseas.
It definitely showed as New York seemed out of sync on offense at times.
Chicago built a 43-35 halftime lead behind a 14-6 run in the second quarter. New York rallied in the third to tie it at 55 after falling behind by 12 early in the period.
Both teams were playing their second game in two nights, winning their season openers on Friday night.