July 17 WNBA Preview — Atlanta Dream (5-11) at Chicago Sky (9-8)

They may not be All-Star starters, but Chicago Sky guards Courtney Vandersloot and Diamond DeShields are WNBA All-Stars all the same.

James Wade’s dynamic backcourt looks to power the Sky to a third straight victory Wednesday when they host the Atlanta Dream in a matinee in Chicago.

Vandersloot leads the WNBA in assists by a comfortable margin at 8.2 per game and is on her way to leading the league in that category for a third straight season. She is threatening her league-record mark of 8.6 per contest set last year, and with both DeShields and fellow All-Star Allie Quigley – the league’s leader in 3-pointers made and Vandersloot’s wife – marking the first time Chicago (9-8) has had three All-Stars since 2013, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate Monday’s announcement.

“It seems like it’s always been one or another, which has been fine with us,” Vandersloot told the Chicago Sun-Times. “But it’s really cool that we both get to experience it together. It’ll be really cool to look back on this one day when we were both All-Stars.”

Quigley is also the two-time 3-point shootout champion, but it has not been announced if she will defend her title at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas later this month. DeShields, a first-time All-Star selection, is averaging 14.9 points in her second season.

Chicago got back over the .500 mark with an 89-79 victory at Dallas on Sunday. DeShields delivered from 3-point range, hitting 5 of 7 from deep and finishing with a season-high 26 points. Quigley added 12 points and Vandersloot chipped in eight and eight assists as the Sky finished 11 of 20 from 3-point range.

Atlanta (5-11) did not have any players selected to the All-Star team and continues to play without last year’s leading scorer Angel McCoughtry as she recovers from a torn ACL suffered last year. The Dream were denied a third straight victory Sunday, losing 76-71 in overtime to the Sparks.

Tiffany Hayes forced overtime with a basket just before the buzzer, but the Dream could not recover from back-to-back 3-pointers by Los Angeles in the extra period. Hayes finished with 24 points and Monique Billings added nine and a career-high 16 rebounds for Atlanta, which continued to struggle offensively and shot 32.9 percent.

“I thought we did what we needed to do defensively, but it’s hard to win games going 2 for 19 from the arc,” coach Nicki Collen told the Dream’s official website. “I would guess that of those 17 misses, 12 of them might have been unguarded. We just have to make a higher percentage of those to consistently win. We’re gonna win some games with those kind of numbers, but we’re not gonna consistently win going 2 for 19 from the arc.”

McCoughtry’s absence has made scoring difficult for the Dream all season – they are last in the WNBA in scoring (69.9), overall shooting percentage (36.9) and 3-point shooting percentage (28.4). Hayes leads the team with 13.3 points per game but is shooting just 39.7 percent.

Atlanta, which is 1-5 on the road this season, won two of the three games between the teams last year, including an 89-74 romp at home in the most recent matchup.

(Allie Quigley/Diamond DeShields/Courtney Vandersloot photo courtesy Courtney Vandersloot official Twitter account)

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