May 11, 2014, ORLANDO (ISN) – The Chicago Sky were defeated in their final game of the WNBA Preseason Tournament by the defending WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx 76-69 on Sunday afternoon.
The game was played inside of the sold out HP Fieldhouse at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.
Score by Quarter
Minnesota (3-0) 31 19 11 15 76
Chicago (1-1) 12 18 15 24 69
Elena Delle Donne and Maya Moore traded three-point buckets to start the game but Minnesota capitalized on early turnovers from the Chicago Sky to jump our to an 18-9 lead in the first seven minutes of play. At the end of the first quarter the Sky trailed 31-12 after struggling to slow down Minnesota’s fast break opportunities and points in the paint. Maya Moore delivered 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting in the first quarter. Defensive consistency was an issue for the Sky all afternoon.
“We were out of rhythm and it started with our defense,” said Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot. “It’s hard to get into a flow when we aren’t getting stops. We are the best in transition but it’s hard to get transition opportunities when we aren’t defending well.”
Delle Donne, who poured in 15 points in 15 minutes of play, ignited a Chicago Sky run midway through the second quarter when she knocked down a three-pointer at the top of the key and rallied her team. The Sky responded scoring 11 unanswered points during a four-minute stretch to close the gap to 35-24 before Minnesota continued their hot shooting. The Lynx shot 54% from field in the first half to maintain a 50-30 advantage going into the locker room.
Guard Aaryn Ellenberg helped the Sky outscore the Lynx 15-11 in the third quarter. Jessica Breland and Sasha Goodlett controlled the paint for the Sky contributing 17 points and 8 rebounds. Courtney Clements also delivered 8 second-half points.
Despite picking up their defensive intensity in the second half the Sky were unable to close the 20-point gap Minnesota created from Maya Moore’s hot shooting to start the game. The Lynx were led by Asia Taylor with 18 points and Moore who finished the game with 16 points.
“We have to worry about getting stops defensively. It starts with transition defense and rebounding,” said Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot. “Those are the two things we need to get better at heading into our next preseason game.”
The Sky head to Delaware to play their final preseason game where they will play host to the Washington Mystics. The game is at 6 p.m. CT on Tuesday, May 13 at the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center. With the tremendous support of the Delaware faithful, Delle Donne and the Chicago Sky will look to closeout the preseason with a win and regain momentum heading into the regular season opener on Friday, May 16 at Allstate Arena.
For tickets to see the Sky play at Allstate Arena this summer call 866.SKY.WNBA or visit CHICAGOSKY.NET
Chicago Sky 69, Minnesota Lynx 76
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
May 11, 2014
· Elena Delle Donne was efficient scoring 15 points in 15 minutes of play
· Rookie forward Gennifer Brandon grabbed a career-high 8 rebounds to help the Sky outrebound the Lynx 43-34
· Chicago took advantage of 2nd chance opportunities and scored 18 points behind 15 offensive rebounds
· During a four minute stretch early in the 2nd quarter the Sky scored 11 unanswered points
· Minnesota rookie guard Asia Taylor delivered 18 points in her first start for the Lynx
· The Lynx shot 68.4% from the field in the 1st quarter to score 31 points in the first ten minutes of the game
· Sequoia Holmes and Sasha Goodlett are each averaging 7.5 PPG and are tied as the Sky’s second-leading scorers this preseason behind Elena Delle Donne (10.5 PPG)
Chicago Sky Head Coach Pokey Chatman
(On the team’s overall performance in the WNBA Preseason Tournament…)
“I think it was a great opportunity against quality teams. We played a combination of different lineups and I thought our players handled that well. Obviously it creates a lack of rhythm offensively…Regardless of the score of either game we got to see some things that people are good at and what we need to work on as a unit.”
(On what the team needs to improve on before the regular season opener…)
“We need to work on consistency on the defensive end of the floor and spacing offensively. When we’re spaced and we move the basketball we can feed the post and go inside out. We got to the free-throw line 25 times this game and that’s a product of some people establishing themselves and keeping the mentality of attacking. Defensively we have to be solid.”
(On tonight’s performance…)
Chicago Sky Guard Courtney Vandersloot
(On the team struggling to score…)
“I don’t think we established our flow early. We were out of rhythm and it started with our defense. It’s hard to get into a flow when we aren’t getting stops. We are the best in transition but it’s hard to get transition opportunities when we aren’t defending well.”
(On the improvements she wants to see in the final preseason game…)
“Right now we just need to focus on our defense. We definitely have people on this team that can score so that’s not going to be a concern. We have to worry about getting stops defensively and make sure all five players on the court are on the same page. It starts with transition defense and rebounding. Those are the two things we need to get better at heading into our next preseason game.”
Chicago Sky Guard/Forward Elena Delle Donne
(On the WNBA Preseason tournament experience…)
“It’s really good to get into a tournament setting because it brings a different type of feel and to have that in preseason is great preparation for our season coming up.”
(On the importance of AAU basketball…)
“It definitely brings back great memories being here. The last time I was here I was 10 years old playing in my first nationals. I always loved AAU basketball. I think that’s really the reason that I got prepared for college because you face the best competition when you’re playing AAU. It’s definitely awesome to see these girls competing out here and just remembering what it was like when I was out here.”
Minnesota Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve
(On what the team’s approach is going into the regular season…)
“The same as it always is; number one we have to be healthy, so staying healthy is key. We already started out of the gates a little bit banged up, so we want to get some players back. Do what we always do, which is do all the little things; defend and rebound and be efficient on offensive.”
(On if she feels the league is really balanced…)
“You always feel that way. You always feel that every team is good. There is not a lot of discrepancy in talent for each of the teams. That is what makes it so challenging and rewarding when you are so successful because we know how hard it is. This year will be no different.”
(On the challenge of players coming in late due to overseas commitments…)
“Yeah for the players that is probably the most challenging thing for them is to shift their mindset. They were just playing for different teams, doing different schemes, different teammates, and different coaches and then coming here they quickly had to transition into what the Minnesota Lynx do.”
Minnesota Lynx Guard Asia Taylor
(On her first start in a Lynx jersey and playing a solid game…)
“I feel good. I always try and tell myself to come out and be aggressive. Sometimes when you play a level up you are intimidated. I’m out there with people I have looked up to since I was younger. I still wanted to come out with the same mindset and be aggressive. I got some early buckets to go and it really opened up for me.”
(On what it means to play for the Lynx…)
“It’s great. I know that having Coach Reeve start me means that she has confidence in me. I know she wasn’t doing this as a favor or anything like that. I take a lot of pride in that. I wanted to come out and not make her regret starting me. I understand that my role maybe later in the year if I do make it that it probably won’t be that but I think I showed I can play well when I’m aggressive.”
Minnesota Lynx Guard Maya Moore
(On winning today’s tournament…)
“We wanted to make everything we do meaningful even if there was no nobody here or no trophy to give out we still would of played as hard as we did. It is definitely nice to be to acknowledged and recognized and to enjoy being in front of kids that want to be like us someday. I thought we got better and we improved. Everybody is a little more comfortable with how we do things.”
(On being WNBA Champions last year does this win give them confidence they can do it again…)
“It’s still so early. We definitely like I said took a step forward today. That is all we can ask for at this point in the season just establishing out identity and making sure everybody has a fair shot at finalizing the team. We want to definitely use this momentum to lead into this Friday with our first game. We have a few more days to prepare for Washington.”