Sunday afternoon at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, the Chicago Sky defeated a Las Vegas Aces team that was without Liz Cambage and Dearica Hamby, but it was still impressive and ended the playoffs for the team in the first season with hometown hero Candace Parker .
Parker followed up her 30-point, 14 rebounds in a 90-83 loss to the Aces with 12 points, 13 boards and eight assists, and Sky won 92-84.
Chicago led by eight to one and with halftime, but by entering only three the fourth. A deep two from Riquna Williams cut it back to three with 2:18 to go, but Sky then closed out the game with a 5-0 run. Kahleah Copper (14 points) made three free kicks and Astou Ndour-Fall (six points, seven rebounds, two blocks) made two.
Allie Quigley (four assists) led the Sky with 22 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the city center, while Diamond DeShields added 17. Courtney Vandersloot along with her six assists.
A’ja Wilson scored 18 points, 12 rebounds and three steals in a defeat, while Kelsey Plum (three assists) led Vegas (20-8) by 23 points.
The Sky had the championship goals to start the season and were relieved to score the playoffs after an up-and-down season with 15-14 and a sixth-place finish.
“It means a lot,” Parker said of the playoffs in her first season in Chicago. She grew up in nearby Naperville. “I think this season has been tough. Only with injuries and the ins and outs of the season. So you never take it for granted in the league in which we play to win the play-offs. Our work has clearly been eliminated, but today we celebrate it.
You play the hand you got. I know this from my whole career. Have things always been fair? No. But guess what, this is what it is. The sun comes out the next day, you have to keep going. Obviously we had the expectations of not coming now, maybe climbing ahead of time and maybe being somewhere else. But that’s what it’s. I think we have a resilient team. And you know, we learned from that. And after the season, I think we are able to gain momentum and to play well. Because if we had played like that in many of the other home games we lost, I do not know if it would have been Ls. ”
Atlanta Dream (7-20) over Dallas Wings (12-16), 69-64
The Dream won an 11-match streak and claimed their first victory under interim head coach Darius Taylor, who took over as former interim head coach at the Olympic break. Nicki Collen was the team’s head coach entering the season, but took over as head coach at Baylor before it started.
It was a critical loss for the Wings against the low Dream, when a win would put them 2.5 games ahead of the Washington Mystics and New York Liberty, which were tied.
Dallas ‘Arike Ogunbowale made a try to reduce her team’s deficit by 28 seconds, but Atlanta scored a 4-0 run with four free kicks, making Tyasha Harris’ middle distance with 4.4 ticks meaningless wash.
Tiffany Hayes, who missed a knee injury at the end of June, all of July and some of August, scored her first game of 20 points since June 9 and scored 22 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. Monique Billings supported her with 12 points and 14 boards and Courtney Williams was good for 17 points. Elizabeth Williams (10 points, three assists, four blocks) rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Dream.
Ogunbowale finished with 21 points while Allisha Gray scored 10 points and 14 boards in a defeat.
“It was a great team effort,” Taylor said. ‘I thought we were struggling through adversity, we were playing through this really physical, confusing game. Although Tiffany returned, I had a great game. We have continued to do what we have been doing defensively since the second half started, and that only made it difficult for them to get into their initial sets, deny them the ball and disrupt them. I’m just so happy for them, happy for the team that it was finally worth it for us to win after we worked so hard. ”