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Game Notes: Sky 86, Mystics 84 (Best game of the season!)

Slooty with the GAMEWINNER! (source: Chicago Sky twitter)

BOX SCORE || PLAY-BY-PLAY || RECAP || PHOTO GALLERY

Prior to this game, the Sky were in the midst of a 2-game losing streak

The Sky had lost 5 of their last 6 games

And although the Sky have a pretty decent stretch of home games in July, the next several opponents will be very tough… Lynx (in Minny), Liberty, Phoenix and Sparks… in that order. Brutal.

To put it mildly, the Sky desperately needed this win.

The Sky knew it.

The fans knew it.

Both groups acted accordingly to ensure that the Squad came away with the big DUB!

Let’s start from the beginning…

Game 16 Team

Squad!

Let’ be honest… the Sky played poorly in the first half. The defense was weak and the the offense struggled mightily. Don’t get it twisted, the Sky appeared to be playing with high energy and intensity, but nothing went their way. However, the Sky continued to battle through it. They never let the game get away from them and were only down 10-points at the break.

Thank goodness for halftime!

I don’t know what was said or done at  during halftime, but a whole different team came out after the break! The Sky erased that 10-point deficit in the first 4 minutes of the 3rd quarter and  were up by 6 points with 3:30 minutes left in the quarter. That’s a 17-point turnaround in less than 7 minutes! The Sky’s defensive intensity turned ALL THE WAY up in the 3rd and shots started falling. Sky finished the 3rd quarter with a 4 point lead.

The 4th quarter was a classic grinditout backandforth battle between two teams that both desperately wanted to get the win. HUGE plays were made by both teams on both ends of the court. This quarter was the textbook definition of a “nail-biter.” I was hella nervous throughout and am pretty sure that I was literally biting my nails at times. The 4th quarter ended with the game tied.

Overtime was more of the same… 5 extra minutes of hard fought back-and-forth basketball. Sky were able to come up with the bigger plays in the final seconds of the game and that’s what got them the win.

This game was special because the Sky were FINALLY able to close out and win a CLOSE game by making great plays down the stretch. I feel like we’ve lost ALL of our close games this year. After the NY Liberty game last week, I had pretty much lost all confidence in the Sky’s ability to win close games. I had lost all confidence in Pokey’s ability to draw up a winning play. I had lost all confidence in the team’s ability to execute a winning play. I started to believe that we had no clutch players on this team and EVERYONE was just going to wilt under the pressure of every close game. I mean, that’s how it’s been all season, right? We’ve given away several games by just making silly turnovers in the waning seconds of winnable games or just not getting a decent shot off. It was SOOOOOO satisfying to see so many players step up and be clutch and make clutch plays. That was something that we hadn’t seen yet in any close games this season.

Let’s talk about some of the brilliant individual performances that got us this dub…

EDD finished the game with 28 points, 11 boards (5 offensive!) 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. Monster stat line! EDD’s outside shot was off again this game, but she is MONEY from like 12-feet and closer. Her outside shots look good but for whatever reason, they all spin out in the same way like she’s putting some kind of weird spin on the ball with her release. I dunno. It’s weird… but it’s pretty much been like that all season. Anyway, EDD hit a HUGE shot in the 4th to send the game into overtime

And then there was this ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL layup that EDD hit in OT to tie the game…

Let’s see that from another angle…

Ok, so I honestly don’t think that either of those videos do that shot justice. I mean, the level of difficulty on that reverse layup was EXTREMELY HIGH. That was one of the most beautiful fastbreak finishes that I have EVER seen! At the last second on that play, EDD almost bypassed the hoop and her back was completely turned to the basket. She had to reach ALLLLLLL the way back to finish the reverse. It was such a difficult shot but she did it so smoothly and made it look so easy. It was an AMAZING play to see live. So sick. Justwow!

Game 16 DeSouza

DeSouza!

As mentioned earlier, the Sky played a FANTASTIC 3rd quarter to get themselves back in this game. DeSouza stepped up BIG-TIME in this quarter and was probably the main reason that the Sky dominated this quarter as they did. DeSouza came up with huge rebounds and hit a couple big shots in the paint. Her activity and energy on offense and defense got her teammates going and got the crowd hyped up as well. Oh, and not to mention, DeSouza made the GAME-WINNING BLOCK to seal the victory! Huge, HUGE effort from DeSouza tonight.

Gotta give mad props to TYoung for the defensive effort on Tayler Hill in the 2nd half. TYoung was LOCKED-IN on defense… her focus and intensity on the defensive end was phenomenal. And as always with TYoung, she doesn’t just give you the defense. She also dropped 10 points and grabbed 8 boards. Fantastic game from TYoung.

The Rookie put in another solid effort. Her shots weren’t falling with as much ease as they have the last few games, but she put in some good minutes. There was no bigger play for the ‘Rook than the HUUUUUUGE block of Tayler Hill’s shot at the end of regulation. The ‘Rook also had a great opportunity to win the game for the Sky in regulation as she got a great look at the bucket for the final shot of the 4th quarter. The shot rimmed out. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that in any other game, the ‘Rook hits that shot with ease and wins the game for us in regulation. I mean,that’s her shot and she has hit it at a ridiculous percentage the entire season. That was a great play and it’s a shame the shot just didn’t fall.

The Rook also had one of the most gangsta steals I have ever seen in 1st quarter. She was literally just like “gimmie dat!” and took the ball out of Tierra Ruffin-Pratt’s hands like Ruffin-Pratt was a small child that stole sumthin! LoL.. it was funny!

One more thing about the Rookie though… she’s gotta defend without flailing her arms so much. She got called for several fouls that were weak fouls but because she’s swinging her arms around so much, it’s an easy call for the ref to make time and time again. She needs to be more deliberate with her arm movements on defense. Go straight up. Don’t swing down. She’s making it too easy on the refs. Oh, and once ‘Rook gets her timing correct, she’s gonna be a SHOT-BLOCKING MACHINE! I absolutely LOVE watching the ‘Rook hoop.

Quigley and Faulkner both had solid games in limited minutes. Quigley hit 5-7 shots for 14 points in 12 minutes. Faulkner continues to ball out and finished with 7 points and 3 assists in 12 minutes.

Sloot did Sloot things out there. She finished with 14 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 1 steal. Oh, and Slooty hit the GAMEWINNER! …

Let’s recap all the super clutch heroics that took place this game…

EDD hit the shot to send the game into overtime

Rookie made the huge block to ensure overtime

Sloot hit the game-winning shot

Erika made the game-winning block

Not bad, Squad.. not bad 🙂

Another cool thing about this game was that the crowd was SUPER HYPED! It was a pretty average-sized crowd (attendance = 5310), but we were LOUD! The crowd knew that this was a big game for the Sky and we definitely fed off of team’s energy. Hopefully the Sky was able to also feed of of the crowds energy as well.

One last thing… real talk, WTF is “Diversity & Inclusion Night?” Seriously… WTF is that? Was calling it “Pride Night” too direct or something? I mean, I didn’t even know it was Pride Night until the players came out for warm-ups in the “Orlando United” shirts. In my opinion, “Diversity & Inclusion Night” sounds like an anti-bullying theme or something. The Sky be acting funny sometimes for no reason at all.

Game 16 Pride

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Highlights…

 

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Anyway, here are some articles about the game…

* Daily HeraldSky battles back for hard-fought win

“It was a hard-fought win,” Vandersloot said. “And there was a point in the second half where we made a run (and cut down Washington’s lead) and there was this energy from the bench. They all met us at half-court (when a timeout was called) and it was the best feeling.

“That feeling was way better than the game winner. Our team was connected and I knew right then that we were going to win this game.”

“Erika talked to me yesterday after practice about how she needs to do better for this team, with rebounding and defense,” Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. “That’s a true pro who understands an area where she can help this team and then she followed that up with a big block at the end after sitting for a long time.”

* SB Nation Bullets ForeverMystics at Sky final score: DC loses in overtime, 86-84

* Swish Appeal: Delle Donne’s heroics, energetic fire elevates Sky

“This is a good Washington team. We needed this win.” Chapman, extremely proud of her team, went on to say, “The difference tonight was that I felt the energy. I heard all five players talking at once, if one player got beat, they trusted the other teammates to be there and make up for it without reaching in.”

* The Washington Times: Vandersloot hits game-winner in OT; Sky beat Mystics 86-84

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Next up for the Sky is the Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday in Minneapolis. Sadly, the Sky have yet to get a win against any of the top teams in the league (…or even a team with a winning record) this season so hopefully this will change. Hey. I can dream, right?!

#WatchMeMakeItHappen

~ Go SKY! ~

~ by areyno82@hotmail.com on July 2, 2016.

2016 Season, Chicago Sky, Uncategorized, WNBA

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