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WNBA: Sky build big lead, hold off Dream

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Kahleah Copper scored 23 points and Ruthy Hebard finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Chicago Sky to an 85-77 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Wednesday night in College Park, Ga.

The Sky (2-0) held off the Dream (0-2) after leading by 23 points in the first half. Chicago played without Candace Parker, who was out due to an ankle injury.

Astou Ndour-Fall finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Sky, and Courtney Vandersloot had 12 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Diamond DeShields scored 11 points and dished out five assists.

Courtney Williams had 24 points and eight rebounds and Chennedy Carter added 21 points for the Sky.

Atlanta welcomed back veteran Tiffany Hayes, who opted out last season amid the COVID-19 pandemic and did not join the team until after the season-opening loss against Connecticut last week.

Hayes missed her first eight field-goal attempts before making a 3-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer with 5:18 left to cut Chicago’s lead to 70-65. Hayes finished with five points on 1 of 10 shooting from the field.

Atlanta’s Crystal Bradford hit another 3-pointer and Monique Billings sank one of two shots from the free-throw line to narrow the deficit to 70-69 with 3:51 left.

A three-point play and a jump shot by Ndour-Fall in consecutive possessions gave the Sky a 78-71 lead with 1:28 remaining.

After Williams made a jump shot with 1:18 to go, DeShields put Chicago ahead 80-73 on a jumper with 37.3 seconds left.

Copper, Hebard and Vandersloot were in double-figure scoring by halftime, when the Sky led 46-26.

The trio outscored Atlanta 35-26 at that point, shooting 14 of 27 from the field. The Dream made 11 of 35 (31.4 percent) from the field, 3 of 12 from the free-throw line and had 10 turnovers by halftime.

Atlanta was also outrebounded 27-19 by intermission and 47-35 in the game. The Dream were outrebounded 42-26 by the Connecticut Sun in last week’s season-opening loss.

The Dream, who never led, were also deficient Wednesday at the free-throw line, making 12 of 24 overall.

The Sky barely finished with better field-goal success than the Dream, 40 percent to 39 percent. However, Chicago made 28 of 36 foul shots.

–Field Level Media

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