Sky lack edge in loss to Dallas Wings
The Chicago Sky is sure hoping so.
The Sky, which is on its way to the WNBA playoffs, learned a tough lesson Thursday night about not playing with an edge -- a must come playoff time.
Perhaps looking past a Dallas team that traveled with just eight players due to a rash of injuries, that had won just nine games on the season and that had yet to beat the Sky in two previous tries, the Sky was missing its edge, looking downright sluggish at times.
That lack of edge bit the Sky as Dallas, officially eliminated from the playoffs but still scrapping, out-hustled the Sky to a 88-83 win at Wintrust Arena.
The Wings (10-20) got a game-high 35 points out of guard Arike Ogunbowale, a rookie out of Notre Dame who hit two huge buzzer beaters in the 2018 Women's Final Four to help the Irish win the national championship.
Dallas also out-rebounded the Sky and outscored the Sky on second-chance points, 17-10.
"We didn't bring it tonight and it's a huge lesson for us," said Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot, who leads the WNBA in assists (9.1 apg) and is in the conversation for league MVP. Vandersloot finished with a team-high 19 points and 7 assists. "It doesn't matter what the other team is, we have to bring it every single night and we didn't. And it starts with me. I need to be better, especially down the stretch.
"This one hurts."
The Sky, which drops to 18-13 on the season, sits in fifth place in the WNBA standings and is using its final games (now down to three) to improve its seeding in the playoffs. The top two teams in the WNBA receive a double bye into the semifinals and the top four teams receive a bye into the quarterfinals. The bottom four teams must play in the single-elimination first round.
And if the playoffs started today, the Sky would be paired up with the eighth-place Phoenix Mercury, which boasts the leading scorer in the league in Brittney Griner and just got back superstar Diana Taurasi, who missed most of the season with a back injury.
The Sky faces Phoenix on Sunday in its last regular season home game of the year.
"We just have to bounce back. This one hurts a lot but we still have games to play, and we still have playoffs," said Sky center Stefanie Dolson, who had 15 points and 11 rebounds. "We have a lot of hard games left but they are games that we can win and we know we can win and we have to believe that. We have to take this one and learn what we can and we can't let it happen again. We can't have a lack of effort and lack of execution."
The Sky also got 17 points from Diamond DeShields, 16 points from Allie Quigley and 10 points from Cheyenne Parker.
Isabelle Harrison and Allisha Gray also had big games for Dallas with 18 and 16 points respectively.