Offensive fireworks help Sky take care of Wings


DALLAS — The Sky couldn’t miss.

In their 104-89 victory Friday against the Wings, they scored in any way they wanted. Whether it was from three-point range or in the paint, in transition or in the halfcourt, the Wings had no answer for the Sky’s most complete offensive performance of the season.

Three members of the Sky’s starting five scored 20 or more points.

‘‘Our communication was on point today,’’ interim coach/general manager Emre Vatansever said. ‘‘Anytime those little moments hit us, they got together and figured it out. They huddled up and solved the problems. That’s what we’ve been working on, and they’re great at it at the moment.’’

Kahleah Copper and Courtney Williams led the way with 25 points apiece. Copper shot 4-for-4 from three-point range, and Williams went 5-for-6 from behind the arc. Alanna Smith added a career-high 20 points.

The Sky (11-15) shot 55.1% from the field overall and 58.3% from three-point range and finished with 24 assists on 38 field goals.

Before the game, Vatansever emphasized the importance of the Sky not allowing the Wings’ runs to affect their energy and effort. The Sky have lost a handful of games this season as a result of failing to come together in moments of adversity, including an 18-point loss to the Mercury out of the All-Star break and a nine-point loss to the Storm last week.

The Wings lead the WNBA in points in the paint, averaging 41.2 per game, and Vatansever’s message to the Sky was that those points would happen; he just wanted them to punch back.

The Wings hit their average and then some, holding a 48-34 edge in the paint, but the Sky were able to control the offensive glass. The Wings also lead the league with 15.1 second-chance points per game, and the Sky held them to nine.

Natasha Howard led the Wings’ efforts inside, finishing with a triple-double of 28 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. Satou Sabally added 18 points for the Wings, but Arike Ogunbowale, the third-leading scorer in the league at 21.8 points entering the game, was limited to 11.

‘‘We talked together, and we said, ‘They are going to score [in the paint],’ ’’ Vatansever said. ‘‘All we need to do is not get frustrated. My team has a lot of maturity and stayed locked in through the course of the game.’’

The playoff race is tight between the sixth-place Mystics (13-13), seventh-place Lynx (13-15) and eighth-place Sky. The ninth-place Sparks are 2.5 games behind the Sky.

The result tightened the Sky’s grip on the final playoff spot, but more important was the step they took toward solidifying the cohesion that largely has been missing.

‘‘We have [14] games to go [in the regular season], and we need to continue to do that,’’ Vatansever said. ‘‘This is a good win for them. They came here and took what they needed.

‘‘We didn’t win a championship right now; we just won another game, and they know it. But their effort has to be acknowledged.’’


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