Friday, August 12, 2022

Sky’s Courtney Vandersloot hits buzzer-beating 3-pointer to sink Lynx

The Chicago Sky are addicted to making things interesting. After starting the week with a history-making 28-point comeback on the road against the first-place Las Vegas Aces, they closed it with a buzzer-beating victory at home over the last-place Minnesota Lynx. 

Much of Sunday evening’s matchup was played within a few possessions either way, but late in the third quarter, the Sky built a double-digit lead — one they maintained with just four minutes to play. It appeared they would coast to a win, but the Lynx had other ideas. 

Jessica Shepard took control, scoring or assisting on four straight baskets as the Lynx rattled off a 9-0 run to get back in the game. But after the Sky settled down and started making a few free throws, the Lynx still trailed by three with less than 10 seconds to play. That’s when Kayla McBride drew a foul on a 3-point attempt and stepped to the line to make all three free throws and tie the game at 85-85. 

The only bad news for the Lynx is that the Sky still had 7.6 seconds to work with. Courtney Vandersloot used all of them to make sure there would be no overtime. After the Sky’s initial play broke down, Vandersloot momentarily lost control of the ball and had to hand it off to Emma Meesseman. 

No one would have blamed Meesseman for taking the shot, but she kept her head and found Vandersloot, who had relocated, wide open at the top of the key. Vandersloot got the shot off just in time, and it dropped through the net well after the horn had sounded and the red lights had appeared on the backboard. Ball game. Sky 88–Lynx 85. 

Vandersloot, who is known mostly for her passing, finished with a team-high 18 points on the night to go along with five rebounds and six assists. She’s now scored in double figures in six straight games, which is her longest such streak since August 2020. 

Fittingly, that stretch started on June 12, when Vandersloot hit a game-winning 3-pointer to lift the Sky over the New York Liberty. It even happened in similar fashion, as she inbounded the ball to Meesseman, and then later got it back when the defense collapsed. 

Thanks to Vandersloot’s latest bit of heroics, the Sky have now won three straight games to improve to 13-5 on the season — a mark that has them just half-game behind the league-leading Aces. Since a somewhat frustrating start that left them sitting at .500 after the first two weeks of play, the Sky have gone 11-3 to remind everyone why they’re the defending champs. 

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