ATLANTA — Courtney Vandersloot hit the game-winning jumper from the top of the key with 20 seconds left to lead the Sky to an 80-77 win over the Dream in the first game of their WNBA playoff series.
Chicago is the No. 4 seed in the East and Atlanta is No. 1, but the Sky didn’t look like underdogs while limiting the Dream’s fast break to two points.
Elena Delle Donne scored 21 points, Sylvia Fowles added 12 points and 14 rebounds, Epiphanny Prince scored 14 points and Vandersloot went for 13 points and seven assists.
The Sky is pretty good when healthy. Vandersloot, who starred at Kentwood High School and Gonzaga, missed 17 games this season with an MCL knee sprain. Fowles missed the first 13 after hip surgery, and Delle Donne missed 17 games with Lyme disease.
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Atlanta forward Sancho Lyttle was 3 for 15 in the game. Teammate Angel McCoughtry went 8 for 22 while scoring 24 points even with a late burst where her seven consecutive points gave the Dream a 77-75 lead with 1:40 left.
With the game tied at 77-77, Vandersloot worked her way from the right wing into the lane before stopping and popping from 18 feet.
PHOENIX — Diana Taurasi hit four straight free throws in the final 40 seconds and the Phoenix Mercury beat the Los Angeles Sparks 75-72 in the first round of the WNBA playoffs.
Taurasi had a personal playoff-best 34 points and DeWanna Bonner added 13 for the Mercury.
Candace Parker, who led the Sparks with 22 points, threw too high for Kristi Tolliver with 7.1 seconds left, giving Phoenix the ball with a 73-70 lead. Bonner hit her third and fourth straight foul shots down the stretch to help seal the win.