Sublime defense, solid guards and their best game so far: 3 reasons why the Sky downed the Sparks

Thursday night was a glimpse of what it could all look like when it comes together for the Chicago Sky.

The visiting Sparks didn't play well, but the Sky had a hand in the turnovers and the 20-point margin at one point in the 83-73 win over Los Angeles.

The Sky were on point as a team passing the ball, finishing at the rim and stealing the basketball.

Case in point: Chicago had 18 assists and nine steals at halftime. The team finished with 26 assists and 13 steals in the game.

Marina Mabrey, Chennedy Carter and Dana Evans led the way for the Sky. Mabrey led all scorers with 20 points, followed by Carter's 14 and Evans' 15 points. Their offenses were supercharged by the Sky's defense.

Although she had a quiet game, Angel Reese scored two baskets in succession and forced a turnover as the Sky had a 13-point lead with 1:17 left.

A defensive showcase

The Sky's defense was sublime. 

They played the passing lanes and stole the ball from the Sparks, and it wasn't like the Sparks were lackadaisical with the basketball. Chicago was just good at defensive positioning and swiping the ball from Los Angeles. 

That bodes well for one of the best offensive transition teams in the WNBA. Once the Sky got steals, they got out on fast breaks. They had 10 fast break points going into the fourth quarter, one of the reasons the team led by 17 at one point.

The Sparks got back into the game, cutting the Sky lead to nine heading into the fourth quarter thanks to Dearica Hamby's double double. 

The defense started the game, but the guard play finished it.

One unsung hero of the game was center Elizabeth Williams, who had a double double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. 

Her defense in the post was crucial but her offense was also significant in limiting Sparks rookie Cameron Brink, one of the best defensive players just a few weeks into the season.

The trio of guards

Mabrey's shooting, Carter's finsihing at the rim and Evans' court presence helped the Sky close out the win.

Evans had four assists and 15 points, but she commanded the court well. She positioned herself well for long rebounds, and took advantage of the court spacing Mabrey set up for her.

Mabrey finished with 20 points and hit six 3-pointers. She also dished seven assists, and helped space the floor. The Sparks had to respect her whereabouts at all times. 

Carter was instant offense for the Sky, too. She entered the game midway through the first quarter and had eight points in under four minutes. When the Sky got steals, that led to Carter in transition. That bodes well for the Sky.

Evans and Mabrey helped close the game with timely shots, accurate assists and a veteran presence that didn't get rattled.

The Sky's best game so far?

With their defense starting the game, and the offense finishing it, the Sky played arguably their most complete game.

It wasn't a full 40 minutes as Weatherspoon wanted to see, but it was a glimpse of what the Sky can do when playing at a high level.

Chicago led by 20 at one point. The Sparks cut that lead to nine at one point. The 

The Sky didn't collapse or show signs of being rattled. Instead, Weatherspoon trusted her team. That team showed what they can do when playing at their best.


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