With Epiphanny Prince out, the Chicago Sky have needed someone other than Sylvia Fowles to step up.
After a big effort by their bench helped end a lengthy slide, the Sky take on the visiting New York Liberty on Friday night.Chicago had struggled after losing Prince, its leading scorer, to a broken foot on June 16. The Sky (8-5) had dropped four straight by an average of 9.5 points before erasing a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit in a 71-69 win over Atlanta on Sunday.Fowles had 21 points and 12 rebounds while Chicago had three players score at least 11 points off the bench, including 13 from Eshaya Murphy."They needed (the win) because they understand where they've let each other down," coach Pokey Chatman said. "It was just nice to see that energy."Besides the offensive lift the bench provided, the energy was especially evident on the defensive end. The Sky had allowed an average of 82.0 points over their previous four games, but held the Dream to 39.7 percent shooting while outscoring them 25-15 in the fourth quarter.Chicago primarily used its bench during the comeback."What I like is finishing the game with our bench out there and to have veteran players coaching from Ticha (Penicheiro) to Swin (Cash) to Ruth (Riley)," Chatman said. "It sounds different coming from a player and it gives you confidence."The Sky could use another big effort from their bench against New York. They defeated the Liberty 73-64 on the road June 10, getting 26 points from Prince. Fowles had 10 points and 12 rebounds.New York (5-9) is also trying to win back-to-back games following a 77-59 victory over Seattle on Saturday. The Liberty had dropped four of their previous five."It was a big win, a much-needed win," said Cappie Pondexter, who scored 20 points. "We were really striving to win. ... I think having a week off and getting our legs refreshed and our minds refocused, we were able to come out and win."Essence Carson scored a season-high 22 points, shooting 7 of 14. She had totaled 10 points in the previous two games while connecting on 5 of 19 shots.The Liberty will be without center Kia Vaughn, who scored a season-high 16 in the loss to Chicago last month, after she suffered a concussion against the Storm. Fellow starter Plenette Pierson remains out with knee and hamstring injuries.