Chicago Sky battles back, falls in double OT
Whether the Chicago Sky makes the playoffs is still in question.
But whether the Sky would be a scary playoff team is not.
Just ask the Los Angeles Sparks, the defending WNBA champions and currently the second-best team in the league, if they would like to face the Sky in a do-or-die playoff series.
The answer probably would be a resounding "no!"
The Sky already has defeated the Sparks once this season, in a nailbiter in Los Angeles in July. And the Sky had the Sparks on the ropes again Friday night.
The Sky clawed back from a 10-point deficit with about three minutes left in regulation and forced not one but two overtimes. But the defending champs found a way to pull out a 115-106 victory.
The loss drops the Sky to 11-17 and keeps Chicago in ninth place with six games left. Only the top eight teams in the WNBA make the playoffs.
Los Angeles, which got a game-high 32 points from forward Nneka Ogwumike and 29 points from center Candace Parker, the former Naperville Central star, improves to 21-8 and is 2 games behind the Minnesota Lynx for best record in the WNBA.
"It says we're right there," guard Allie Quigley said of where the Sky is, based on its good showings against a team of the caliber of Los Angeles. "We just can't take steps backwards now. There's not enough time left in the season. We need to take this as a positive and keep moving forward. If we can play like this the rest of the season, we'll go 6-0."
Sky center Stefanie Dolson came up huge in crunchtime. She hit a big 3-pointer with about 10 seconds left that cut the Los Angeles lead to 1 point (86-85). Los Angeles bumped the lead back up to 3 points on 2 free throws by guard Chelsea Gray.
But then Dolson hit an even bigger 3-pointer with three seconds left to sent the game into overtime.
Dolson finished with 18 points and was one of five Sky players in double figures.
Quigley led the way with 26 points, Courtney Vandersloot had 22 points, guard Cappie Pondexter had 16 points and forward Jessica Breland had 10 points.
"We're fortunate to have a 5 (center) who can shoot 3s," said Vandersloot, who registered her sixth straight game of double-figure assists with 10. She assisted on Dolson's 3-pointer that sent the game into overtime. "That's pretty rare, and (Dolson) does it at a high level. I love that. She hit really big shots. I'm going to continue to look for her."
Pondexter hit a big jumper to give the Sky a 99-97 lead with 50.3 seconds remaining in the first overtime. Ogwumike then forced another extra session with a pretty jump shot of her own with 33.8 seconds left.
The Sparks dominated the second overtime, reeling off 7 straight points out of the gate. Parker scored 8 points in that overtime alone.
"I'm not sure it was anything they were doing (differently in the second overtime)," Sky coach Amber Stocks said. "I just think they hit some really tough shots."
Los Angeles also got 20 points from Gray, 15 from Odyssey Sims and 10 from Jantel Lavender.
The Sky, which leads the WNBA in assists per game (20.4) and rolled up 31 against the Sparks, was hampered by 21 turnovers. The Sparks, which had just 6 turnovers, scored 22 points off Sky turnovers. They also had 17 steals.