“They (the Chicago Sky) are too good.”
Indiana Fever Coach Linn Dunn, in Monday’s postgame press conference
Win or go home.
Those are the simple choices the Chicago Sky will have to make as they face the Indiana Fever at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse tonight in Indianapolis for the final Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Can they…especially the heart and soul of the team, Elena Delle Donne, find a way to push past their nemesis Indiana Fever, to the WNBA Finals for the first time in franchise history?
A clearly unhealthy and uncomfortable Delle Donne still managed a key three pointer in the final quarter even as she spent most timeouts on a heating pad, grimacing in pain from a strained lower back.
While being double-and triple-teamed Labor Day at Allstate Arena, Delle Donne was a little more than a decoy that left getting points in the paint to center Sylvia Fowles, who was in ‘beast mode,’ according to Sky Coach and GM Pokey Chatman.
Fowles delivered a career playoff-high 27 points and seven rebounds as the Chicago Sky outlasted the Indiana Fever 86-84 in double overtime.
“We fed the monster,” said Chatman in postgame remarks. “She was in beast mode in every aspect.”
The ‘beast’ herself, Fowles, talked about the team’s numerous comebacks, being down double-digits to power past opponents like Angel McCoughtry and Tamika Catchings:
“We all feel like we have nothing to lose. We started the season with so many ups and downs and right now we’re in the playoffs. If we can weather what we went through during the regular season, now there is no fear.”
Sylvia Fowles, Chicago Sky’s 6’6 center
Fighting through adversity seems to be a way of life for Chicago Sky this season, and the tenacity they’ve shown all year may propel them to victory tonight.
They’ve shown surprising resilience, winning six of their last eight games of the season and seizing the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference, leapfrogging over the New York Liberty to capture a regular-season record of 15-19. And that was with Fowles, Courtney VanderSloot, Epiphanny Prince, and Delle Donne sitting out large chunks of the season with injuries.
Indiana Fever Head Coach Linn Dunn, who’s owned a virtual monopoly over the franchise over the last nine years, sees something different in them this year.
She talked about their resilience in the press conference following the game:
“You have to understand that this was a team down 20 against Atlanta, in Atlanta, and they were able to come back. They have a comeback in them. They have so many pieces and so many bullets. They have great shooters around the perimeter, Delle Donne at the four and Sylvia down low. We expected them to make a run.”
This game will have ‘comeback’ in them for both teams. And for the Sky, maybe, just maybe, they’ll leap across a great boundary tonight and become the Eastern Conference Champs, ready to face the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA Finals.
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