Chicago Sky comes up short again in loss to Liberty
It was a good look.
The Chicago Sky got the shot it wanted in the final seconds of Sunday's game at the Allstate Arena against the New York Liberty when center Stefanie Dolson pulled up for a wide-open jumper at the top of the key with 4.5 seconds left in a tie game.
But as has been the case often during this transitional season with a new coach and new faces, it was a near miss, and New York pulled out an 86-82 victory.
The Sky (8-16) has lost three in a row and eight games this season by fewer than 10 points.
"We just have to be more consistent," said Sky guard Allie Quigley, who poured in a game-high 22 points, including four 3-pointers. "We go from one extreme to another. We can't keep having lulls, whether it's on offense or defense."
The Sky was down by as many as 11 points in the first half and 9 points in the fourth quarter but cut into its deficit during crunchtime with some gutsy drives to the basket by point guard Courtney Vandersloot, who finished with 12 points and 10 assists.
Jessica Breland cut the deficit to just 2 points at 84-82 with 41.5 seconds left with a pretty jumper at the free-throw line. A New York turnover then led to Dolson's opportunity.
New York forward Shavonte Zellous then hit 2 clutch free throws with about three seconds left to seal the victory.
"We did a great job of staying in the game and fighting and attacking," said first-year Sky coach Amber Stocks. "I thought our players played with a lot of intensity and heart."
The second quarter sabotaged those efforts.
The Sky finished the first quarter up 24-20. But the Liberty outscored the Sky 26-15 and held the Sky to just 30 percent shooting in the second quarter. The Liberty boasts one of the top defenses in the WNBA and has the No. 1 field-goal percentage defense at 40.9 percent.
Breland, who is having one of the best seasons of her career, finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Sky. Dolson also scored double figures with 11 points.
The Liberty (12-10) placed five players in double figures, led by center Tina Charles with 15 points. Guard Sugar Rodgers came off the bench for 14 points, while former Sky star guard Epiphanny Prince added 12. Both Zellous and Kiah Stokes chipped in with 10.