Fowles returns, leads Sky over Liberty, 80-69

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) -- Sylvia Fowles wasn't too concerned with what Bill Laimbeer said, only with how her team played.

Fowles had 15 points and 13 rebounds to power the East-leading Chicago Sky to an 80-69 victory Saturday over the New York Liberty.

Fowles missed Chicago's 75-55 victory over the Liberty on Thursday with a sprained right ankle and was questionable for Saturday. She played 27 minutes and helped the Sky to their fifth straight victory and fourth in a row over New York with her seventh double-double.

''Honestly, we're making progress. We're making progress,'' Fowles said of the ankle. ''I've been told that it's something that's going to bother me for a while because it's a bone bruise but (I) pretty much have to go with the flow and go from there.''

Laimbeer didn't sound overly impressed with Fowles' performance, or the fact she played with the injury.

''It's professional basketball. You're supposed to do that,'' Laimbeer said. ''She wasn't really hurt to begin with.''

When told of Laimbeer's comments, Fowles said she didn't have to prove to the Liberty coach that she's hurt.

''I've seen the doctor. My doctor talked to my coaches,'' Fowles said. ''With that said, I think we played well as a team. So I'm not even going to be into that, but as a team I think we played well.''

Chicago increased its lead over idle Atlanta to one game for first place in the East as it chases its first postseason berth, despite a career-low seven points on 2-of-8 shooting from Elena Delle Donne.

Delle Donne's previous low had been 12. The Liberty frequently double-teamed the leading vote-getter for the July 27 All-Star game or tried to deny her the ball.

''Wins are all that matters,'' Delle Donne said. ''I said it earlier, if I have to play decoy and they want to deny like that, then I will play decoy the rest of the season and we'll get wins. I'm very happy with getting that win and showing some toughness in the second half and gritting it out on defense.''

Chicago stayed undefeated against the Liberty this season. Before Saturday, Chicago's closest win over New York had been 13 points. The Sky also rolled to a 93-64 victory July 7.

Cappie Pondexter, who on Thursday was named a starter for the July 27 All-Star game, snapped out of a brief offensive slump to lead New York with 22 points on 8-of-20 shooting. She had shot 21.9 percent over her previous three games.

New York has lost six of seven and three straight.

Before Saturday, Chicago's closest win over New York had been 13 points. The Sky also rolled to a 93-64 victory July 7.

Pondexter, however, wasn't frustrated by New York's losses to Chicago.

''Not at all, because I know in the course of a season just by experience, every team has their number on a team,'' Pondexter said. ''Just like Seattle came in and beat (Chicago on July 2), it happens. This is how basketball is. Our focus is let Chicago go, and keep moving along in the East.''

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