One of the best WNBA careers almost ended before it began.
Allie Quigley’s career is remarkable. She is living proof of self-belief, working hard and never giving up on your dreams. Just ask her family.
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“It’s all pretty remarkable. To see her from the beginning until now. So many times she maybe wasn’t given a full chance and just pushed through and found a way to make herself better,” her sister, Sam Quigley-Smith, told High Post Hoops. “It was never ‘Why aren’t I making a team?’ It was always ‘What can I do to make myself better, I’m obviously missing something.'”
After her decorated career at DePaul, Quigley was selected 22nd overall in the second round of the 2008 WNBA draft by the Seattle Storm. She was waived shortly after and picked up by the Phoenix Mercury, where she would go on to average seven minutes per game and two points in her rookie season.
She spent the next four years getting waived by Phoenix, bouncing around from Indiana to San Antonio and then back to Seattle. Each time seeing limited action. In 2012 she faced a tough and unusual career decision. She could give a Seattle training camp another shot, which had not worked out, or obtain Hungarian citizenship and represent their National team. She chose the latter, opting out of any potential WNBA play that summer.
It may have appeared that her time in the WNBA was dwindling down. Quigley averaged 1.8 points and five minutes per game in her first four seasons. “She thought about just stopping answering any teams calls and just doing the overseas thing,” said Sam Quigley-Smith, Allie’s sister and current Head Coach of Lewis University. ” She just never felt like she was given a solid chance. When Chicago called, she sort of said ‘Ok, one more go, it’s my hometown.”
In 2013 she was picked up by Pokey Chatman of the Chicago Sky. They needed a shooter and she was local, it seemed like a reasonable fit. And Allie Quigley returned home.
Fast forward five years later, Quigley is a WNBA All-Star for the second consecutive year and back-to-back reigning three-point contest champion. This past weekend at the 2018 WNBA All-Star game, we witnessed one of the single-greatest three-point contest performances of all time. A complete show of dominance by Quigley herself.
She was named Sixth Woman of the Year in the WNBA twice in 2014 and 2015. Since 2014, her averaged has spiked averaging 12.8 points per game. She is averaging 16.2 these last two years alone, arguably playing the best basketball of her ten year career.
What changed? Nothing. She kept working.
Allie got in the gym. She didn’t make excuses for herself and she worked tirelessly to make her own chance. That mentality and work ethic has certainly paid off for her. Her family has witnessed it all from the beginning.
“It feels pretty gratifying to see her transform into the amazing player and person she has become.” Quigley-Smith told High Post Hoops. “It was something we all knew because we’ve witnessed it from the start. She had worked so hard and now sees results.”
Allie has become the face and leader of a young but talented Chicago Sky team. At 32, and currently playing the best basketball of her career, you can’t help but wonder how? What is she doing on and off the court to physically and mentally be where she is at?
“Physically just taking care of your body, eating right, getting good rest, doing your exercises in the weight room to keep yourself actually on the court,” Allie Quigley told High Post Hoops. “Basketball wise, just figuring out as a player what it is that is going to make you the most successful. Trying to stick to that and be as efficient as possible.” For Allie, that’s being the best shooter on the floor, staying efficient and not being a liability on the defensive end of the floor.
Her Sky team sits at 10-17 on the season and 10th in the standings. She admits its been a frustrating season at times because you see the potential. “We just haven’t been consistent. We have two or three good quarters every game and we have that one that’s a lull,” she said sitting down at her locker.
Chicago is at their best when they are able to run in transition and lock down as a team defensively. Anything in between, well, it’s not always pretty. “When we do that, we have success. When we don’t, it’s terrible. So I think we’re trying to find a middle ground,” Quigley said with a smile.
The Sky were able to hold on to a much needed 92-91 road win over the Dallas Wings on Tuesday night. Quigley led the way with 22 points and shot .500 from the field. Her hot three-point hand carried over from the All-Star weekend as she went 4-8 beyond the arc.
Despite the Sky’s inconsistencies on both ends of the floor this season, they still hold out hope. They certainly have enough talent. “We still believe that we have a record in mind that we need to hit for these last seven games and if we do that we have a chance to make the playoffs.”
Allie Quigley maintains that she has a few solid years left in her. After all, why wouldn’t she? And as far as the Chicago Sky go, any team with a player like Allie Quigley on it, will always have a fighting chance.