Another game that could have gone either way and unfortunately, this Chicago Sky game went the way many of them have been going since early June - the wrong way and another notch in the loss column. It wasn't for lack of trying and considering the Phoenix Mercury are healthy and clicking on all cylinders, the Chicago Sky kept up with them until the last few minutes of the game. This, too, is becoming a regular occurrence where our Sky hang in there and play a good close game, only to collapse in the last crucial minutes of the final quarter. Here's how close the game was - the Sky were up 18-15 after the first quarter; the Sky were up by one at the half; the game was tied at the end of the 3rd quarter; Sky lose by 6 with a final score of 72-66. Five Phoenix players were in double figures while the Sky only had three players in double figures including our All-Star Center Sylvia Fowles who finished the game with 23 points leading all scorers in the game. Game ball definitely goes to Big Syl who left it all out on the court tonight.
Keep in mind that Sylvia had to play against 6'8" phenom Brittney Griner who has come into her sophomore season in the big leagues playing like she did in her college days at Baylor...shooting, blocking and clogging up the middle with her enormous wing-span. Also keep in mind that the Mercury team roster includes WNBA scoring machine Diana Taurasi, an under-rated former Sky player Candice Dupree, and strong guard Erin Phillips and forward Penny Taylor. A very strong team that is healthy and beating every team that comes in its sights. This is probably why this loss hurt the Sky team, coaches and fans tonight - the Sky hung in there as underdogs and had a chance to pull off the victory but just couldn't muster up the scoring when it counted....those lost few minutes of the game.
Kudos to Jamierra Faulkner, our 5'6" guard who has stepped in and done a great job starting in the place of the injured Courtney Vandersloot. Faulkner is fast, fearless and fun to watch and ended the night with 13 points and 8 assists PLUS she made a couple of buckets facing up to and eluding 6'8" Griner and her giant wing-span...sweet.
So I guess we just take the bitter with the sweet again tonight - a lot of sweet moments and some great play from our Sky players but a bitter outcome when all was said and done. (Elena please come home!!!).
Notes from the game - a great crowd came out to Allstate Arena and when the opposing team was introduced, Brittney Griner got a great ovation. Usually when the opponent's team is announced there isn't much acknowledgement from the crowd so this, I must admit, surprised me a bit. She is special and unique so I guess if that brought some of the extra fans out to the game tonight then that is a great thing for the Sky and the WNBA in general. On a personal note, I watched my first game from the Press table located at the northwest end of the arena and I must say it was one of the worst seats in the house. I usually roam around the arena and take photos and sit in the crowd and listen to the fans or move to the main floor seats if any are open (BEST seats in the house and a great way to see the game in a whole new light). Press table - view is blocked by the north basket base, heads in the way of viewing from the people in the sky club area, and a bad angle for seeing all the plays. Back to my roaming ways for the Indy game on 7/22 but at least I can say I gave it a fair shake as I watched the whole game from there (the parts of the game I could see from that corner of the arena). Next up for the Sky - they travel to Atlanta to face another hot team, the Atlanta Dream on Sunday. Keepin' the faith as always so GO SKY!
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