Preseason #4 Game Notes: Sky 84, Fever 71

Box Score || Recap (Sky)|| Recap (Fever) || Photo Gallery || Photo Gallery (SPM)

The age-old adage is that preseason games don’t matter. And, of course, preseason success does not equal regular season success. Whatever. Sky went 3-1 in preseason and I had a damn good time tonight! This was my first look at this new-and-improved Sky team and our new-and-improved home court. They didn’t disappoint! The Sky, of course, had (almost) their full roster while the Fever were without key players (namely, Catchings and Douglas). When these two teams face-off on May 22nd for the Sky’s home opener, the game will definitely be a lot different…but tonight, this was a very easy win for the Sky. Let’s start at the beginning…

First, let’s talk about the Sky’s new home, Allstate Arena. As far as I’m concerned, Allstate is in a great location. I love that there’s a giant Target right next door (yeah, I did some pregame shopping), not to mention lots of great places to eat. Sky fans, we really need to establish a nice kick-it spot to hang out before and after games. There are a ton to choose from.

Parking at Allstate is craziness. There are no signs or anything to indicate where you’re supposed to go. Before the game, when trying to get into the parking lot, I pulled into the wrong location twice and was directed by friendly police officers to where they thought I was supposed to go. After the game, when trying to leave the parking lot, I came upon two roadblocks before I followed a line of also-confused motorists until we all kind of stumbled upon an obscure exit. Some signage would be nice. Oh, and why aren’t there lines painted on the ground in the parking lot to indicate parking spaces? Parking at Allstate is just all kinds of weird.

Anyway, the arena itself is really great. I liked the UIC Pavillion but Allstate just feels a lot more professional, more legit. I made the mistake of parking on the south side of the arena when my seat is on the north side. The looooong walk from the south entrance to my seat gave me a great opportunity to see a lot of the concourse. There’s so much potential there. Obviously, the concourse seemed kinda big, lonely and deserted because of the small number of fans in attendance, but if we can get like 6,000 per game, that place would be hoppin! Parts of the concourse is just made up of hallways, but every 500 feet or so, those hallways open up into larger areas that are made up of concession stands, bathrooms, the Kid’s Club and various other things. Allstate is so big that, if I was in the north concourse and a rock concert was going on in the south concourse, I would have no idea. That’s gonna take some getting used to. At UIC, I could literally see the every aspect of the the concourse from my seat. You’ll definitely get a good workout if you make it a point to explore the entire concourse each game.

Attendence was low. Preseason games are usually pretty sparsely attended, but the sheer size of Allstate magnifies that. There are some possible explanations for the low turnout: (1) almost everywhere you look, the game time was listed as 11:30am. I wonder how many people rolled into Allstate during their lunch hour looking for the Sky game… (2) some people were told that the game stated at 7pm, not 6pm… (3) 6pm is an early start time and people may not have been able to make it after work. The crowd definitely continued to get larger as the game went on, which was nice.

The Sky store at the arena has a lot of new items. After 5 years hoping and wishing, I finally got a pair of Sky shorts! …they’re SUUUPER short though, but they fit and I can always sag ’em a bit, right? I also got a really cool new Sky shirt which I think may quickly become my new “favorite” Sky tee. Yeah, that’s a big deal. I (wisely) decided not to buy everything in the Sky store in one day. Self control is a beautiful thing! Anyway, they also had Sky pens, headbands, key chains and other cool gadgets that I know I’ll buy at some point during the season. The worse thing about the store is that the season ticket holder 20% discount doesn’t apply there anymore because the store is owned by Allstate, not the Sky. Sucks. I coulda saved $12 tonight! Things in the store do seem a little more expensive than they were at UIC. Most tees were usually about $18-22 at the Pavillion. The t-shirt I bought today was $25. I didn’t do a full inventory so maybe I just opted to buy an expensive shirt today. Also, the store is located just inside the doors of the South entrance. If you don’t look to your left or right when you first enter the building, you’ll miss it. It’s small and it’s the only store in the arena. I swear, if I see these items in the Sky online store (our 20% STH discount still applies there) next week, I’m gonna be ticked! LoL, jk…kinda 🙂

I can’t comment on the quality of the concessions because I didn’t eat anything at the game tonight. Sorry.

Regarding the actual game, the Sky looked really good. The starting line-up was Perkins, Canty, Christon, Kraayeveld and Fowles. The reserves were: Prince, Toliver, Thorn, Irvin, Paris, Young, Olajuwon. No Sami Whitcomb. No Larissa Williams. Both were cut. KB Sharp was in attendance…in street clothes watching the game from the stands. Cut? Probably. No Mistie Bass. She wasn’t injured on the bench or anything and there’s no way Bass was cut so I assume something came up that caused her to miss the game.

Anyway, the Sky were in control of this game from the opening tip to final buzzer. The Fever got it close at times — and to within 7 or 8 late — but were never really a threat. The breakdown…

Great game from Dominique Canty. She played the consummate point guard tonight. She ran the offense magnificently. Made great passes. She was aggressive and made strong moves to the basket. She hit her shots.

Jia started the game looking like she was in mid-season form. She was mixin’ it up from the opening tip — hitting those mid-range j’s with ease while also driving into the lane for acrobatic finishes. After a great start, Perkins kinda took a backseat so that the youngsters (Toliver and Prince) could get in their groove too.

Not sure what was up with Christon this game. She started the game and looked pretty good. Played solid D and fought on the boards. According to the box score, she only played 11 mins. I believe those were all in the first half. It’s not like her minutes were given to her back-up, as Young only played 9 minutes total. The rest of the starters played big minutes too. Injury, perhaps? I dunno. Maybe Key was just trying to see other what other people could do.

I’m pretty sure Kraayeveld was solid, I just can’t recall anything standing out to comment on specifically.

It was really nice to see Big Syl back. She’s got a lot of uber athletic moves around the basket. Sucky thing is, it looked like she tweaked her knee at least twice this game. Not a good sign…

Toliver played great tonight. Her demeanor was completely different than it was last year. She looked like a completely confident player that knows/understands her role. Tonight, it seemed like her primary role was to get buckets and to act as the secondary ball handler. That role fits her well. KT is gonna fill it up this year, I can feel it. I don’t know what it is, but Toliver’s threes are electric! Like, they immediately pump you up. Maybe its because her shot isso pretty and so perfect. Maybe it’s the way the ball seems to go through the basket seemingly without ever touching the rim or net. Perhaps its the fact that she’s always like 3+ feet behind the arc with a defender right in her grill. Maybe step-back 3’s are prettier than regular 3’s. Whatever it is, KT’s 3-ball is one of the most exciting shots in basketball…

Epiphanny Prince looked really good tonight. Although her outside shot wasn’t falling, she pushed the tempo and remained aggressive every moment she was on the floor. Loved her intensity — both offensively and defensively. She had some unfortunate drives into the lane where she clearly forgot she was only 5’8″ (and, uh, the Fever bigs were nice enough to remind her). Yeah, those shots never made it near the rim, but ya gotta love the fact that (a) she can get into the lane with ease and (b) she has no fear. All the young, slashing guards that come into the league do the same thing. She’s definitely got all the skills so it’ll be easy for her to simply adjust her game a little bit to figure out how to get those shots off in traffic. Also of note, Prince handled the ball a lot. If tonight is any indication, I’d say Canty and Prince are our primary PG’s and Jia and Toliver are our SG’s. That works. All four (five, if you count Thorn) are interchageable at the guard spots. Versatility is great.

TYoung is a freakin’ sparkplug. If she gets on a tear, she can reel off points and make brilliant plays for ya in a hurry. That’s exactly what she did tonight. Every team needs that spark.

Yeah, I’ve seen Olajuwon’s stats over the course of preseason…and yeah, they look pretty good. But honestly, I never really took her seriously and I never really believed she was a serious contender to make this team. I was definitely wrong for that. After seeing her play just a little bit tonight, I see that she is indeed the real deal. She’s got skillz. Sure, only played 6 minutes, but she looked really, really good in that brief stint.

Hmmm…I dunno about Courtney Paris. Not the best game from her.  Of course, you gotta take into consideration jet lag and the fact that she’s had minimal time to practice with the team when assessing her game tonight. All I know is this: she better get it together quick or Abi gon’ take her spot!

I didn’t know Irvin had 3-point range until today. Solid all-around game. Very versatile.

Erin Thorn? The only thing that sticks out about ET in this game is a couple really bad passes that were pretty much telegraphed to the Fever. Other than that, ET is always solid.

For the Fever, obviously it was great to see DePaul alum, Allie Quigley, play. She had a nice little cheering section and she knocked in some nice shots. Tenacious and scrappy on defense. Jessica Davenport looked really good. She appears to have slimmed down considerably. I really enjoyed watching Joy Cheek as well. Really talented rookie. Hope she makes this team.

Other than the actual game, one of the best parts of the evening was getting to see all my Sky buddies I haven’t seen since last summer. It’s fun to catch up and to see what other STHs/fanatics think about this season and everything. The biggest topic of conversation was definitely “Who makes the team?” It’s a tough question. Olajuwon really stepping up throws a wrench into my previous prediction. I still think Bass makes the team over Olajuwon, for sure because, well not only is Bass better, but also more versatile. We can’t have one power forward. Thing is, I could totally see Olajuwon over Paris. There’s no way that we could keep both Olajuwon, Paris and also Fowles. No team has 3 centers. Some teams may have 3 players that can play center, but not 3 players that can ONLY play center. Then you have Irvin also playing well and she’s also more versatile than both of the OU ballers. With Big Syls history of injuries, I don’t know if I feel comfortable with Paris being her only backup. But that’s just based off of what I saw tonight and, once again, that’s not fair to Paris. I dunno. These last cuts are gonna require that some really, really tough decisions be made.

*ARTICLE* Sky closes preseason with 84-71 win over Fever (Daily Herald)

“It felt good being back out there with my Sky team,” the 6-foot-6 Fowles said. “I’m excited about the season. I’m loving my teammates. I’m healthy and I can’t wait to get things going.”

There’s also this important tidbit about Shameka Christon

Newly acquired forward Shameka Christon scored only 2 points but sat out the second half to rest a sore leg.

Her lack of minutes makes sense now. Get some rest, Shameka!

*VIDEO* Sky’s Epiphanny Prince on her WNBA debut (ChicagoBreakingSports.com)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

*NEXT GAME* May 15th (Saturday) 2:30pm vs. Sun @ *MOHEGAN SUN*

~ Chicago Sky Hoops ~

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~ by audsquad on May 11, 2010.

2 Responses to “Preseason #4 Game Notes: Sky 84, Fever 71”

  1. Thanks for the great recap!

    I think Fowles can guard power forwards effectively, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see a Fowles/Paris duo at times, especially if Paris is improving and doing well while Kraayeveld is struggling or just doing so-so.

    That said, I don’t expect Olajuwon to make the roster either, unless Key feels Thorn’s veteran leadership/presence can be placated by others.

    My guess:

    Bass
    Canty
    Christon
    Fowles
    Kraayeveld
    Paris
    Perkins
    Prince
    Thorn
    Toliver
    Young

    • my final roster prediction is the same as yours. The prob I’m having is that Olajuwon looked SOOOOO much better than Paris yesterday. I’d go so far as to say Paris looked borderline awful. If Big Syl is gonna continue to be injury-prone, then we need to be very careful who we choose as her primary backup. Thing is, Paris has had so much less time with the team than Olajuwon so it’s really tough to judge who would be better if practice time was equal.

      and yeah, Fowles may be able to guard power forwards, but Fowles + Olajuwon or Paris would totally clog up the lane on offense b/c none of them have any range. That’s why Kraayeveld and Bass fit better alongside Sylvia and that’s why Dupree made such an effort to expand her range every offseason. If we were gonna cut a guard and keep an extra big, it would have to be Sandora Irvin, imo. Either way, Sky still gotta make a choice between Olajuwon and Paris.

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