The Indiana Fever took down the reigning WNBA champs Chicago Sky 89-87 on Sunday afternoon. Indiana came back from a 13-point halftime deficit by scoring a season-high 35 points in the third quarter.
NaLyssa Smith brought out a career performance for the upset, scoring 26 points and recording a fourth career double-double. Kelsey Mitchell neared a double-double with 13 points and 9 assists.
Rookie Lexie Hull also notched a career-high in scoring with 10 points. Newcomer Emma Cannon also showed out with 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
The Fever came out with high energy, scoring the first couple of baskets while pushing the pace. As the Sky’s defense tightened up, Chicago got its offense flowing. Both teams were getting strong looks inside and traded layups through the first half of the quarter.
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Kahleah Copper heated up with a couple of corner threes as the Fever defense failed to effectively switch on defense. Lexie Hull started to get comfortable, driving in for a short jumper and drawing the foul. Mitchell started to pick up the intensity, stealing the ball and finishing with a layup. On the next defensive possession, Mitchell blocked a shot and Destanni Henderson split a pair of free throws after being fouled on the shot attempt.
Indiana capped the first quarter with a steal and layup by Tiffany Mitchell to go up 28-25 heading into the second quarter. But after shooting 64% in the first 10 minutes, the Fever collapsed, scoring just nine points in the entire second quarter.
While Tiffany Mitchell started the period off with another pick and score, the Fever gave up their lead in just a couple of minutes. They went scoreless for three minutes in the middle of the quarter and couldn’t keep up with the Sky’s speed on offense.
But after trailing 50-37 at halftime, the Fever fought back with their best third quarter this season. Behind Kelsey Mitchell’s 10 points and some newcomers stepping up, Indiana outscored Chicago 35-20.
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Mitchell opened the quarter with a basket, before Smith scored six straight points, all from layups. Vandersloot fired back with back-to-back jumpers. Then, Emily Engstler came alive to hit a jumper and then blocked a shot, leading to a driving layup from Mitchell. Emma Cannon got involved too, laying in a putback after Robinson forced a turnover.
What served as the true momentum shifter was Mitchell grabbing her own rebound under the basket, then making the layup in a flood of Sky jerseys. As the bench and crowd erupted, the Fever received a technical which only led to more cheering.
Robinson capped off a 10-0 run with a pair of free throws to give the Fever their first lead since early in the second quarter. While the Sky got back into rhythm on offense, the Fever kept rolling as Henderson dumped it off to Cannon for a score, Mitchell finished a one-handed layup and Hull made two free throws in the final second.
Indiana went into the fourth quarter with a 72-70 lead and all of the momentum. The Fever and Sky battled throughout the full quarter. But Indiana’s defensive intensity in the final couple of minutes led to the Fever’s victory.