The Chicago Sky keep their breakthrough season going with a playoff win over Phoenix

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 11: Diamond DeShields #1 of the Chicago Sky goes to the basket against the Phoenix Mercury during Round One of the WNBA Playoffs on September 11, 2019 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – When it comes to the postseason, things change. That’s what players say often, and a lot of times it’s true.

Playoff games tend to make the regular season results fade away, especially when it comes to the WNBA, where the first two rounds feature single-elimination games. That’s why the Sky’s three wins over the Mercury this season weren’t on the top of mind of either team as they met in the first round on Wednesday night at Wintrust Arena.

Yet the Sky, who were playing in their first postseason contest since 2016, were just as good against Phoenix as they were in the regular season. In fact, they were exactly the same as they were in their last match-up just 11 days earlier.

Just as they did when they played the Mercury on September 1st, the Sky scored 105 and allowed two less to pick up a 29-point victory on Wednesday night. They hit 53 percent of their shots and nine of their 18 three-point attempts to outscore Phoenix 61-35 in the second half.

The victory is the first for the Sky in the postseason since October 2, 2016,Β  when they beat the Sparks in Game 3 of the WNBA Semifinal at Allstate Arena. They’d go onto lose that series in four games, and Elena Delle Donne was traded in the offseason, which led to two-straight playoff-less seasons.

But James Wade’s team went 20-14 in the regular season to get back in the playoffs again, and with the win advance to the second round to face the Aces in Las Vegas on Sunday at 4 PM central time.

Diamond DeShields stole the show in her first WNBA Playoff game, scoring a game-high 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field. It continues her outstanding second season with the Sky where she led the team in scoring with 16.2 point a game and was named a WNBA-All Star.

Stefanie Dolson and Astou Ndour each contributed 16 points while Alex Quigley had 15, with Courtney Vandersloot pacing the effort with 11 assists.

All those efforts produced a result like they’d had three times against the Mercury this regular season. But the win on Wednesday allows them to keep a break-through season going for at least one more game.

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