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Elena Delle Donne leads surprising Chicago Sky into conference finals

Elena Delle Donne scored 17 of her 34 points in the decisive fourth quarter, including the winning jumper with 8.4 seconds left, to help the Chicago Sky rally from 20 points down to defeat the Atlanta Dream 81-80 on Aug. 26. The Sky advances to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in history.

Brittney Griner was named the 2014 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. She shattered the WNBA single-season mark for blocked shots with 129.
Brittney Griner was named the 2014 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. She shattered the WNBA single-season mark for blocked shots with 129.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

"I just know that when we were in huddles and I was talking to the team, everyone had that look in their eye like we were not done yet -- we were not ready to go home," Delle Donne said. "So I was very confident. ... I knew we were playing pretty good defense, just not doing the little things like finishing with a rebound, finishing with a contested shot."

Tamera Young started the game strong, scoring six points and dishing out three assists to pace the Sky offense through the first quarter. However, behind 56.3% shooting from the field, the Dream jumped out to a 30-17 lead at the end of the first.

Delle Donne erupted for 13 points in the second quarter to keep the Sky within striking distance. After the teams played to an even 24-24 tie in the quarter, the score at the break was 54-41. She finished with 15 points for the half.

Neither the Sky nor the Dream could get anything going in the third quarter. The two team combined for just 23 points in a low scoring third quarter as the Sky trailed 67-51 heading into the fourth.

Chicago started the fourth quarter on a 11-5 run to close the gap to 72-62 with 6:56 remaining in the game. From that point on, it was all Chicago. Delle Donne scored 17 points in the fourth quarter alone to lead Chicago on 19-2 run to tie the game with 3:33 remaining.

Shoni Schimmel's jumper gave Atlanta an 80-77 lead with 29 seconds left, but Delle Donne made two jumpers in the last 24 seconds -- with the final basket coming with 8.2 seconds remaining and the Sky pulled out the 81-80 victory.

Tamera Young scored 16 points and Sylvia Fowles added 13 points and 15 rebounds as the Sky won a playoff series for the first time in franchise history. Chicago was swept by Indiana in the first round last year in the Sky's first postseason appearance.

Chicago will play the Indiana Fever in the Eastern Conference Finals. The first game of the series will be held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, August 30.