Sometimes, all it takes is a look.
That's what the Chicago Sky got Friday night at Allstate Arena early in the third quarter. A good, hard look.
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Make that a nasty stare.
The Washington Mystics had just tied the game at 49 thanks to some poor Sky defense, some silly Sky turnovers and some lame attempts at hustling for loose balls.
Sky coach Pokey Chatman called a timeout, threw her clipboard at the bench and just stood there glaring at her players, barely spending any of the timeout actually talking.
The Mystics would never grab a lead and the Sky wound up cruising to an 80-67 victory at Allstate Arena.
"Sometimes she just needs to give us that look and we know," Sky forward Tamera Young was able to say with a smile after the big win. "We knew we had to straighten it up real quick.
"This feel great to get big win like that. Everyone is in a good mood now."
The victory moved the Sky to 13-15 and closed the gap with Atlanta to 1½ games for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Washington, sitting in the Eastern Conference cellar, is out of the playoff race and dropped to 5-22 on the season. The Mystics have lost seven straight games and 12 of their last 14.
The Sky was in control for most of the first half and took a 7-point lead into the locker room at the break despite the fact that all-star center Sylvia Fowles was a complete non-factor.
She was held scoreless and played just five minutes in the first half because of foul trouble.
Fowles, a top MVP candidate who ranks third in the WNBA in scoring (20.3 ppg), second in rebounding (10.1 rpg) and first in blocks (2.2 bpg), came alive in the second half and wound up notching her 19th double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.
"Sylvia was on the bench with 3 fouls and we had different combinations of people step up," Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. "We got our transition game going, we hit some shots from outside. That was really nice to see."
The Sky also got a team-high 18 points from guard Epiphanny Prince and 12 points from Young.
Prince responded well to coming off the bench for the first time this season in a move by Chatman that was meant to infuse the starting lineup with the veteran presence of guards Erin Thorn and Dominique Canty. She wound up hitting 2-of-3 three-pointers and rolling up 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
As a team, the Sky was sizzling from 3-point range, connecting on 8-of-13 attempts. Cathrine Kraayeveld (9 points) hit all 3 of her 3-point shots and Thorn went 2-for-4.
•Patricia Babcock McGraw, who covers the WNBA for the Daily Herald, also provides color commentary for Chicago Sky broadcasts.