Sky's Quigley thriving as green-light shooter

  • Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley drives to the basket against the Indiana Fever during the second half of Game 1 of the WNBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, in Chicago. Sky won 77-72.

    Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley drives to the basket against the Indiana Fever during the second half of Game 1 of the WNBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, in Chicago. Sky won 77-72.

  • Chicago Sky's guard Elena Delle Donne (11) guard Allie Quigley (14) and center Clarissa Dos Santos (8) during the second half of Game 1 of the WNBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals against the Indiana Fever, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, in Chicago. Sky won 77-72.

    Chicago Sky's guard Elena Delle Donne (11) guard Allie Quigley (14) and center Clarissa Dos Santos (8) during the second half of Game 1 of the WNBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals against the Indiana Fever, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, in Chicago. Sky won 77-72.

 
 
Updated 9/18/2015 4:24 PM

Doug Bruno, the longtime coach of the successful DePaul women's basketball team, loves to say that his players have the greenest green light in America.

Bruno recruits offensive-minded shooters and, as part of his up-tempo offense, he encourages them to fire away whenever they're within striking distance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

No wonder former DePaul star Allie Quigley never seems shy to pull the trigger on a shot. She's been getting that green-light message for years.

It started at DePaul and has continued through her career with the Chicago Sky as an offensive spark off the bench.

"If Allie passes up even one shot, all of us are on her," Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot said with a laugh. "Because that's what we expect from her. We expect her to always been looking for her shot."

Quigley answered that call often this season, and was rewarded on Thursday before the Sky's playoff game against the Indiana Fever by being named the WNBA's Sixth Woman of the Year for the second straight year.

"There are shots where Allie knocks it down and I just run back (on defense) smiling because it's absolutely amazing. I feel like her release is so fast that she barely even has the ball in her hand and it's gone," said Sky star Elena Delle Donne, the league's most valuable player. "There's definitely times when I become a little bit of a fan. What a pressure release Allie is."

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Quigley led all WNBA reserves this season with an 11.1-point scoring average in about 23 minutes per game. She was also one of the top 3-point shooters for the Sky, hitting 34 percent of her shots from long range.

"Personally, (the award) just means that all of your hard work has paid off," said Quigley, one of DePaul's all-time scorers and a native of Joliet. "It is nice to be recognized. But honestly, it's really hard not to think of your teammates when you have these awards because you know it's not possible without them."

Quigley works particularly well with Vandersloot. The two became fast friends when Quigley, a former WNBA journey-woman who is playing for her fifth team in the last seven years, came to Chicago three years ago and was fighting hard just to make the team.

Quigley and Vandersloot played together this offseason in Poland and spent as much time working out as they did hanging out.

"Allie and I tried to travel a lot. It's not very often to have someone there with you who wants to go out on an off day and go sight-see," Vandersloot said. "In Krakow there's so much World War II history and we really got into that. But we also talked a lot of basketball and worked out together all the time. We had a good balance over there to keep ourselves sane.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Allie is one of the hardest workers. She puts the time in. And she has accepted her role so well. She really thrives in that. It's a tough spot to be in (coming off the bench). I don't think anyone in the league can do it as well as she does."

At least no one has in the last two years.

Next up: The Sky leads its Eastern Conference best-of-3 semifinals series against the Indiana Fever, 1-0. Game 2 is Saturday (6 p.m., NBA) in Indianapolis.

• Follow Patricia on Twitter @babcockmcgraw.

pbabcock@dailyherald.com

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