Written by Greer Rubinstein
August 16, 2013 (ISN) – The Sky was looking to get back on track Thursday night as they faced the Seattle Storm for the second and final time this regular season. The Sky came to Seattle hoping to steal one back from the Storm after they fell 69-60 to the Western Conference team back at Allstate Arena on July 2.
This time around, the game fell in the Sky’s favor as they defeated the Storm 79-66 in an epic comeback.
The Sky got off to a rough start despite leading 5-2 early. The Sky forced two Storm air balls to start the game, but they found themselves trailing 18-14 at the end of the first quarter. To counter their rough shooting start the Storm reenergized going on a 16-9 run to quiet the Sky.
The Storm continued its hot shooting in the second quarter as they made 50% from the field and 43% from three point land in the half. Meanwhile, the Sky’s offensive struggles continued as they shot just 36% from the field and 0% from three and trailed 29-39 at the end of the half.
The Sky came out aggressive in the second half scoring the first six points to cut the deficit to four, but the Storm’s strong shooting effort continued while the Sky struggled to make shots a critical times. The Storm took a game high 16-point lead with four minutes left in the third quarter. The Sky went into the final quarter down 47-60.
Chicago took the court in the final quarter looking like a completely different team. A 16-0 run led by Epiphanny Prince, Allie Quigley and Sylvia Fowles, gave the Sky their first lead since the first quarter. Quigley finished the game tying her career high 14 points off the bench.
The Sky showed their heart by playing their best offensive 4th quarter this season scoring 32 points and holding the Storm to an opponent season low six points in a quarter. The Sky also shot 50% from the field for just the third time this season. They outscored the Storm 32-6 in that final quarter to seal their comeback.
Swin Cash led the Sky with 18 points and five rebounds while Fowles added another double-double to her resume with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Prince led the fourth quarter comeback scoring 12 of her 16 points in the final quarter.
Tanisha Wright led the Storm with a game high 20 points, 5 rebounds and four assists. Shekinna Strickland had 16 points for the Storm including a 4-8 shooting effort from three point range.
Next up, the Sky return home to Allstate Arena on Sunday August 18th with a chance to sweep the season series against the Connecticut Sun. The game can be seen on the U Too and WNBA LiveAccess at 5:00 pm CT.
Chicago Sky Head Coach Pokey Chatman
(On the game…)
“We went in at halftime and didn’t talk about any offensive adjustments. We just really got close and talked about the lack of defensive effort. We were on our heels ,and they were really comfortable making extra passes. It was nice to see us start the half with two quick turnovers and buckets. I trust them offensively. They play well together. But it was nice to see them do the blue collar stuff on the road against a team that’s veteran-laden and good at home with this crowd behind them. We needed that, especially with a couple players down.”
(On the fourth quarter stretch…)
“I haven’t seen one like that in a while because it’s difficult to sustain that against any team. I thought we got out in transition more in the second half. I’ve been on the other side where we’ve laid an egg offensively so unfortunately the basketball gods aren’t always kind. But it was really important for us coming off a tough L.A. loss to get back home and try to get ourselves back together.”
(On adjusting to playing without Elena Delle Donne…)
“There are a couple things. There’s a different defensive scheme for the other team when Elena isn’t out on the court so they’re making those adjustments. We know how to play without a stretch four. It’s just a matter of knocking those shots down. Not that it’s easy, but we had play a whole year without her last year so they’re accustomed to that. I thought Swin Cash was clutch. From the beginning, when we were down, at halftime, in the huddle – you can’t put a price tag on the value that she brings. It was nice to see some of that show up in the stat sheet. She was attacking, and she got the game ball tonight.”
(On Epiphanny Prince’s slow start and big fourth quarter…)
“We were talking to her about her body language. She was playing slow. I told her she looked like a rookie. She didn’t know where she wanted to go. I told her we trust her; we have confidence in her and she knows what to do. We really started to put the ball in her hands in the middle third (of the floor) to give her a little more space and vision. She’s a scorer, and she dialed it up.”
(On Allie Quigley off the bench…)
“The domino effect when a player is down is people play different positions. We were struggling early so I had to play Allie at the one, which isn’t her natural position – she’s a scorer. So it was nice to get her some minutes in there with that group where she could be at her natural position. We ran a couple of things for her out of timeouts, get some screens for her in the middle of the floor, and she can pull that trigger when she’s got space. The thing I like about her is even if she misses it, she knows it’s her responsibility to take the next shot. I like that because Allie is going to pull the trigger because she trusts her shot.”
Chicago Sky Guard Epiphanny Prince
(On the difference for her in the fourth quarter…)
“I think I started reading the defense better and attacked the post play off the dribble. I was able to get some good looks for myself. Coach just told me to play off my instincts and work in the middle of the floor so that’s what I tried to do.”
(On the mindset in the fourth quarter…)
“We just told each other to take it one possession at a time, and we needed stops. We knew we could get some good looks on offense, but just needed to focus on the defensive end. I was looking at the score every time we scored to see what the gap was. That was a great effort, but I think we should’ve started earlier. I was proud of how we dialed it up in the fourth quarter.”
Chicago Sky Guard Allie Quigley
(On the difference for her this game…)
“I just wanted to go out there and execute and remain active. That’s the mindset I had tonight.”
(On the mindset when down…)
“You can’t really look at the score. You just have to tell yourself we need to get three stops at a time and after those three, make another goal. We hit our goals and just cut it down and cut it down.”
(On the fourth quarter difference…)
“I think it was defense and transition. We hunkered down and got some stops. Everyone was moving and staying aggressive. It was fun.”
Chicago Sky Forward Swin Cash
(On coming back to play in Seattle…)
“It’s always fun to come back. I really just love this atmosphere. It’s one of the best in the WNBA with the crowd. The city really treated me well when I played here so it’s fun to come back.”
(On what halftime was like…)
“It was just about getting us refocused. There were things we didn’t do well in the first half. They had a lot of momentum and were being aggressive defensively. We weren’t making any of our reads or imposing our will. So it really was about us coming out in the second half and making sure we played Sky basketball and to play with a sense of urgency.”
(On a key moment when things turned around…)
“They had made a run and the lead was around 13 and that’s when we started getting a couple of stops. Then we got some baskets – Allie made a couple of shots, I think I attacked the basket once and from there, Syl (Sylvia Fowles) was in the middle rebounding and we were just able to get out and run. Any time we’re able to get out in transition, we’re one of the best teams in the league at really finishing and that starts with our defense.”
(On adjusting to playing without Delle Donne…)
“E (Elena Delle Donne) is missing and is a big piece of this team, but it’s an adjustment. People are in different roles – I’m permanently at the four and not at the three. Other players have to come in a play a different role. But I have complete confidence in our bench and what they can bring. It’s not always an automatic fix when someone goes down so I thought this was a great test for us. We had a lot of mental toughness down the stretch in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t just the physical part of the game, but mental, too. We had a lot of discipline.”
Seattle Storm Head Coach Brian Agler
(On the changes in the fourth quarter…)
“I don’t think they really changed anything. At the start of the third quarter they came out and tried to be more aggressive in pick and rolls. They got us a couple of times. We weathered that, but then in the fourth quarter…I think we’re a team that gets confidence from our defense. For the first three quarters we controlled the game and got stops. In the fourth quarter it was the opposite. We didn’t get stops. They got to the free throw line, and they hit shots on us. They got a couple of shots and then, and as passive as we seemed to be, we got just as passive offensively. So we’re a team that can’t ever take a breather or relax or think we have anything made. We’ve got to be a team, no matter the circumstance, that we stay completely focused. We’ll get a chance to review the film, watch it with the team tomorrow, then get ready for Indiana on Saturday.”
(On Epiphanny Prince…)
“She’s not easy to guard. Sylvia Fowles is a hard one to keep off the glass. But I do know that the first three quarters she was 1-for-5. Then she got her rhythm going and really got into plays, and hit some shots on us. She sort of got her energy going.”
(On the timeout down by four with two minutes to play…)
“We had lost our focus a little bit. We had a play that we didn’t execute coming out of a timeout and that was kind of typical of how the fourth quarter was going. We weren’t giving up on the game by means. We were drawing things up and trying to get specific people shots. But it was almost like our team was in shock that this happened to them (outscored 32-6 in the fourth quarter). We got so passive. In those types of situations you have to have a couple of people on the floor that bring the team together and have the ability to make some plays, especially on the offensive end. Tonight we didn’t have that.”
Seattle Storm Guard Tanisha Wright
(On the game…)
“It was our turnovers in that fourth quarter. Turning the ball over gave them some momentum, gave them some easy scores. Anytime you’re struggling in a game and you get some easy baskets, it kind of opens it up.”
(On Sky guard Epiphanny Prince…)
“Epiphanny is an all-star in this league. If anybody can step up to the challenge when your team is down, she’s capable of doing that. She did a good job of doing that in the fourth quarter when they needed her. She came through.
(On how surprised were you at the fourth quarter…)
“Just as surprised as you were. This is a frustrating one. It’s getting close to the end and these are the games you have to win. We were up 13 going into the fourth quarter, and to be able to only score six points, but give up as much as we did too. That was not good. It was not good basketball.”
(More on the fourth quarter…)
“We were trying the same things we did the entire game. I think what hurt us a lot is that we gave them the momentum with the easy baskets, the free throw line, and transition points. They got the momentum and everything became easy.”
Seattle Storm Forward Tina Thompson
(On how the team played in the final quarter…)
“I don’t want we say we relaxed because we were playing hard, but we just couldn’t get a basket to go. We turned the ball over. They got going. The first three quarters we played very well. We lost the game in the fourth quarter.”