Chicago cannot wait for Candace Parker to be back in the lineup
Another heartbreaking loss for the Chicago Sky. Losers of five straight coming into last night’s contest, the Sky seemed due for a win after losing in miraculous fashion to the Mercury and Sparks in back to back games. It can’t get any worse than that, right?
Wrong. The Sky had a crazy week of moves with their Shyla Heal debacle covered in depth by The Next here, but with Allie Quigley coming back from injury and Stefanie Dolson returning from 3v3 Olympic qualification, there was reason for optimism.
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After an incredibly strong third quarter highlighted by a defensive clamping of the Phoenix guards, the Sky fell apart in the fourth, allowing Skylar Diggins-Smith and the resurgent Brittney Griner to force overtime. The Mercury eventually prevailed in OT 77-74, giving Phoenix a 5-3 record on the year and dropping Chicago to 2-6.
Aces vs. Liberty
After a hard fought loss against Connecticut earlier in the week, Las Vegas came back with a vengeance against the Liberty. It was all A’ja, all the time, as the MVP notched her first 30 point game of the year with 13 boards to top it off. She also went 12-12 from the charity stripe, where the Aces dominated New York 26/29 (90%) to 7/9 (78%). That type of aggressiveness from inside allowed Wilson and Co. to runaway with points in the paint.
The Liberty have finally cooled down from their hot three-point shooting start. Betnijah Laney led the way with 23, but was inefficient from downtown, and despite 9 boards and assists from Sabrina Ionescu, she continues to struggle from the field, shooting just 2-for-13 on the night.
A notable output for the Aces was their guard play, specifically from Jackie Young who played 40 minutes and poured in 16 points, her best night in over a week that was reciprocated by her effort on the defense end.
For those readers who are a fan of the betting market, this was also the first game in recent memory that the Aces have managed to cover.
Sparks vs. Fever
With both Ogwumike sisters out amid a myriad of other injuries, the Los Angeles Sparks only had 8 available players for their first game of the year against the Indiana Fever. If you did not know this information, you would think it was the Fever who were shorthanded after their effort last night.
With the Sky moving on from Heal indicating a poor scouting move from Chicago, it is hard not to bring up again the selection of Kysre Gondrezick at number 4 overall. The West Virginia guard only played 5 minutes in the blowout 98-63 loss, but even the team’s veterans continue to underperform, especially from a shooting perspective. This early in the season it is hard to count yourselves out, but at 1-9 the Indiana Fever might want to fire up their scouting department for 2022 prospects.
Meanwhile, the LA guards showed out in the absence of their formidable forwards. Kristi Tolliver scored 22 points, followed by 15 from Te’a Cooper and 14 from Erica Wheeler. Not only was it a great singular game performance, but it builds confidence for a Sparks team that has been considerably underperforming all year.
Atlanta Dream @ Minnesota Lynx, 8:00 p.m.
Dallas Wings @ Seattle Storm, 10:00 p.m.