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Sky recover from blown lead to defeat Dream

Sportsnaut
Sep 29, 2020; Bradenton, Florida, USA; A game ball waits on a sanitation cart during game 5 of the WNBA semifinals between the Connecticut Suns and the Las Vegas Aces at IMG Academy. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Kahleah Copper led all scorers with 21 and all rebounders with eight Friday night as the Chicago Sky blew a 20-point lead, then controlled the last seven minutes to quash the Atlanta Dream 73-65 in College Park, Ga.

Emma Meesseman added 16 points for Chicago, including a pair of free throws in the final minute that gave it a 70-65 lead. The Sky overcame 42.6 percent shooting and some sloppy play in the last three quarters — they had 15 of their 16 turnovers in that span — to improve to 6-3.

Cheyenne Parker scored 19 points for Atlanta (6-4) and Erica Wheeler chipped in 15, including a driving layup with 7:45 left in the game that gave it its only lead at 60-58. But the Dream went 3:37 without scoring and managed just two buckets for the game’s remainder.

Rookie Rhyne Howard, the No. 1 overall draft pick in April who entered the game as Atlanta’s leading scorer at 17.4 ppg, made just 2 of 12 shots from the field and managed only five points in 31 minutes.

Rebekah Gardner scored back-to-back buckets to give Chicago the lead for good at 62-60 with 6:12 remaining.

Chicago nearly buried Atlanta in the first six minutes of the game. The Sky went on a 19-2 run to grab a 24-4 lead on two foul shots by Gardner and settled for a 26-12 margin after one quarter.

But there was a predictable regression to the mean after that, lasting most of the next 25 minutes. The Dream ripped off eight straight points after trailing by 17 and eventually worked their way within six before a Courtney Vandersloot layup made it 39-31 Chicago at halftime.

The Sky led by 10 as late as the 3:34 mark of the third quarter when Copper drained a 3-pointer, but Atlanta ended the period on a 12-4 burst. Wheeler sank a 3-pointer from just inside the midcourt line as time expired, pulling the Dream within 58-56.

–Field Level Media