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NaLyssa Smith stars as Fever edge Sky

Sportsnaut
Oct 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; A view of the offical game ball during the second half of game one of the 2021 WNBA Finals between the Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

NaLyssa Smith’s 3-point play with 39 seconds left Sunday lifted the Indiana Fever to an 89-87 win over the short-handed Chicago Sky in Indianapolis.

Smith finished with a season-high 26 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for Indiana (5-13), which canned 50.7 percent of its field goal attempts and thumped Chicago on the glass 39-27. Kelsey
Mitchell scored 13 points, while reserves Emma Cannon and Lexie Hull added 11 and 10, respectively.

Kahleah Copper scored a game-high 28 points on just 13 shots for the Sky (10-5), sinking 4 of 6 from the 3-point line. Courtney Vandersloot added 13 points and seven assists, while Emma Meesseman hit for 12 points.

Chicago had three point-blank looks at the bucket after Smith’s go ahead bucket but missed them all. After Victoria Vivians made 1 of 2 foul shots with 7.8 seconds remaining, the Sky had a chance to force overtime. But Vandersloot missed a baseline jumper and time expired before Chicago could collect an offensive rebound.

The Sky wasted a good offensive effort, as they made 47.1 percent from the field and 9 of 20 3-pointers. Indiana improved to 3-6 under interim coach Carlos Knox.

With Candace Parker (knee) missing her second straight game, Chicago and Indiana played a defense-optional first quarter. The game was 11-11 just past the 3 1/2-minute mark and the Fever eventually took a 28-25 lead to the second period on Tiffany Mitchell’s layup off a steal.

The last six minutes of the first half was all Sky. Starting with Ruthy Hebard’s bank shot from out top, they embarked on a 21-3 run. When Copper converted a 3-point play with 3.8 seconds left, Chicago went to the locker room up 50-37.

But Indiana erupted in perhaps its best quarter of the year, outscoring the Sky 35-20. It erased a 15-point deficit in about five minutes and took a 72-70 edge to the fourth period when Hull canned two free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining.

–Field Level Media