ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP)—Elena Delle Donne wasn’t supposed to take the last shot.
However, with teammate Epiphanny Prince blocked and the final seconds slipping away, Delle Donne kept an inbound feed and drove the lane for a game-winning jumper as time expired to lift the Chicago Sky to a 70-68 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Wednesday night.
“I was actually being a decoy dribbling the ball away and she was going to get a flare screen to take the shot,” Delle Donne said. “But we weren’t able to get into the play. Five seconds isn’t that much time so at that point I decided I had to get a shot off.”
Delle Donne’s shot capped a Sky rally from a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit for their second consecutive victory.
Prince scored 21 points to lead Chicago (23-9). Delle Donne had 18 points while Sylvia Fowles added 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Prince tied the score at 66 with a driving layup with 2:11 left in regulation. Neither team scored again until Prince gave Chicago a one-point lead with a free throw with 33 seconds showing. Courtney Vandersloot hit another with 14 seconds remaining for a 68-66 advantage.
Jasmine James then ended the Mercury’s stretch of nine straight misses with a jumper to force a 68-all deadlock with 5.8 seconds left in regulation.
“We got a little stagnant on offense,” Dupree said. “I wouldn’t say it was their pressure, we just weren’t able to knock down shots.”
The Mercury were missing star Diana Taurasi, who was suspended one game for an accumulation of technical fouls. She picked up her ninth technical of the season in the third quarter against New York on Tuesday night.
Under WNBA rules, a player or coach is automatically suspended without pay for one game after receiving seven technical fouls during the regular season. For every two additional technicals that regular season, they will be automatically suspended for another game.
Taurasi, who is averaging nearly 21 points and 6 assists, sat out a game against Minnesota in July after getting her seventh technical.
Alexis Hornbuckle had seven points off the bench as the Mercury opened a 21-18 lead to close the first quarter. Delle Donne and Prince each had eight for the Sky.
The Mercury led 38-30 with 2:05 left in the half on Brittney Griner’s layup but the Sky trimmed the deficit over the next 1:20 as Prince made it 38-36 after two free throws.
Two free throws by Bonner restored Phoenix’s four-point at 40-36 lead just before halftime.
The Mercury kept the Sky at arm’s length until late in the third quarter when back-to-back baskets by Tamera Young trimmed the Phoenix lead to 58-55 with 47 seconds showing.
Lynetta Kizer’s put back pushed the Mercury advantage back to five at 60-55 entering the final 10 minutes.