The Chicago Sky came into this contest against the Washington Mystics with a season-high, five-game winning streak. That ended including star rookie Elena Delle Donne’s first half of the WNBA season.
The top All-Star vote-getter suffered a concussion in the Sky’s 82-78 loss Wednesday to the Mystics and may miss the All-Star game on Saturday. Delle Donne sustained the concussion with 1:10 remaining in the third quarter and did not return.
Washington coach Mike Thibault said Delle Donne’s head hit the knee of Mystics forward Kia Vaughn while going for a loose ball. “She’s not nauseous now,” said Sky coach Pokey Chatman, who confirmed the concussion after the Mystics’ team doctor examined Delle Donne. Chicago is off until after the All-Star break. Delle Donne might be as well.
“The WNBA has their rules,” Chatman said. “It’s unfortunate, obviously for her, for us and also for Saturday. We have to make sure she gets back to healthy.”
Delle Donne, the WNBA’s third-leading scorer at 18.6 points per game, is the first rookie to lead the All-Star voting. She finished with 12 points Wednesday, going 2 of 15 from the field.
All-Star Ivory Latta had 18 points and 13 assists as the Mystics rallied from a 21-point deficit over the Eastern Conference-leading Sky.
Latta scored 10 points in the third quarter and rookie Emma Meesseman had all 12 of her points in the fourth. The Mystics (9-9) took control with a 15-4 run midway through the final quarter. Washington, which had lost two straight, picked up a rare victory over Chicago.
“Coach was really getting on us,” Latta said about the turnaround. “People came in off the bench and once again helped us rally to get this win. It was an all-team defensive effort.”
Sylvia Fowles had 21 points and Epiphanny Prince added 18 for the Sky (12-5), who had won 10 of 11 against Washington.
Meesseman scored six during the decisive run, including two free throws and a layup to give Washington a 75-64 lead with five minutes remaining.
Swin Cash added 10 points for the Sky, and her layup with 14.9 seconds remaining cut Washington’s lead to 81-78.
Trailing 42-28 in the second quarter, the Mystics staged a 15-2 run, including the first eight points of the third quarter, seven coming from Latta. After Chicago pushed the margin back to six, the Mystics took a 50-49 lead with a 7-0 spurt, capped by Hill’s 3-pointer.
Scoreless in her previous two games and through three quarters, Meesseman hit two jump shots to open the fourth period and made 5 of 6 over the final 10 minutes.
“The team gave me confidence, they kept saying, `Shoot the ball, shoot the ball,”’ Meesseman said.
The Sky won the only previous meeting this season at home, 89-85. Starting with the August matchup in Chicago, the teams meet three more times this season.
“Obviously, an extremely disappointing loss,” Chatman said. “Anytime you allow a team to score in the 80s, makes it tough on yourself.”
Delle Donne scored a season-low seven points in her previous game, the first time she failed to reach double digits. She had 11 points in the first half against Washington, but missed eight of 10 shots.
The WNBA All-Star game is Saturday and will air on ABC. The WNBA continues the season Wednesday, when the Washington Mystics play host to the New York Liberty.