Courtney Vandersloot leads Sky to 101-95 double OT win over Sun

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Chicago Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot talks with forward Candace Parker during a break in the action against the Connecticut Sun in a WNBA semifinal playoff basketball game, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day via AP)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Courtney Vandersloot had the second triple-double in WNBA playoff history with 12 points, a league playoff-record 18 assists and 10 rebounds to help the Chicago Sky beat the Connecticut Sun 101-95 in two overtimes Tuesday night in the opener of their best-of-five semifinal series.

“Oh my god, I had no idea I had a triple-double,” Vandersloot told ESPN upon hearing the historic news. “I have so many threats around me. I was just trying to be aggressive. My team was getting to open spots. I got a couple thread the needles late. It’s just kind of my role.”

With the game tied at 93, Candace Parker scored on a layup off a neat pass from Vandersloot for her record-breaking assist. Vandersloot, who broke Sue Bird’s mark of 16 set last postseason, then threw a beautiful pass to Stefanie Dolson to give the Sky a four-point lead with 1:29 left.

Connecticut couldn’t recover, scoring only its second basket of the second OT on Brionna Jones’ jumper with 13.7 seconds left that made it 98-95. Vandersloot got her 10th rebound with 7.9 seconds left. Sheryl Swoopes had the only other triple-double in WNBA playoff history, which she did in 2005.

Jonquel Jones, who was honored as the league’s MVP before the game, led the Sun with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Brionna Jones, who earned Most Improved Player honors as well, added 22 points and 10 rebounds for Connecticut, which lost only one game at home during the regular season en route to the league’s best record.

This was the league’s first double-overtime playoff game since 2015 between the Mystics and Liberty.

Both teams had chances to end the game before the second OT. DeWanna Bonner missed an off-balance shot at the end of regulation.

With the game tied at 91 in the first OT, the Sky dribbled the clock down before Brionna Jones stole the ball. Connecticut couldn’t get a shot off before the buzzer, sending it to the second extra session.

The Sun, who won the last 14 games of the regular season, got off to a slow start in their first game since Sept. 19. They trailed by 11 but scored 10 of the final 12 points to trail 24-21 after one quarter.

Connecticut kept its roll going in the second and led 44-40 before Diamond DeShields scored the final seven points of the half for Chicago to give the Sky a 47-46 lead at the break.

Neither team could get much separation in the third quarter and the Sky led by three heading into the final period.

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