Spurred by a record and very vocal crowd, the Chicago Sky opened Wednesday's game in the Allstate Arena with 8 unanswered points and never looked back, beating the Tulsa Shock 72-54.
"Can (the kids) come back (for our next home game) on the 19th? Can we repeat this?" joked Sky coach Pokey Chatman. "It makes it difficult to communicate ... it makes your players communicate more, and that's what we want anyway. (The crowd) was great, it was electrifying."
The 13,838 Camp Day attendees, comprised of mostly local kids, nearly doubled the previous mark of 6,950 set at last year's Camp Day.
"It was loud, it was cool," said the Sky's Courtney Vandersloot, who scored 8 points. "It was a good environment -- it brought a lot of energy for us. It's always great to play in front of a crowd like that."
Led by Sylvia Fowles's 21 points, the Sky recovered from Sunday's rough loss in New York to even its record at 7-7.
"I felt like I got off to a great start, and it gave my teammates the opportunity to do their thing," Fowles said.
The now 1-12 Shock have had their share of struggles, including introducing a new head coach less than a week ago among other staff changes, but they feature several talented players.
"We knew this team was hungry. ... They were desperate to get some wins," Vandersloot said. "They're a dangerous team. They play hard for 40 minutes."
After a dominant 21-9 first quarter, the Sky let up a bit in the second and third quarters. Both teams put up 22 points in a high-scoring second quarter and the Sky led at the half 43-31.
The Shock started off strong in the second half, coming within 5 points and scoring 13 points to the Sky's 12 in the third quarter.
"It's one of our character flaws as a team right now," said Vandersloot of the Sky's habit of losing focus. "We have a little bit of letups, but it's important to just stay focused, and that's what we did."
The team pulled itself together in the fourth and was able to coast at the end.
"I challenged the team to hold them to 14 points in a quarter, and for three out of the four quarters, we did that," Chatman said. "The bottom line is we held true to the defense. It was a good win."
Turnovers are still a problem. The Sky gave up the ball 21 times in each of its last two games, and continued the trend with 19 turnovers Wednesday.
"We're not valuing the ball like we need to," Vandersloot said. "I think it's a team effort and something we continue to work on. We have to get better."
Chatman was a little more to the point.
"It's about not making the same mistakes over and over," she said. "Do your (dang) job."