Game Notes: Sky 79, Mystics 72

Recap || Box Score || Photo Gallery
(Attendance = 3,419)

TWO-GAME WINNING STREAK! Yeah, Sky got that winning swagger back! …and their win/loss pattern (4 = magic number) remains true to form. Nice!

Let’s start at the beginning. The Sky started the game strong and pulled out to a small lead in the opening minutes. Big Syl came out aggressive from the opening tip and and was working hard to make things happen on offense and defense, inside and outside. At the end of the first quarter, the Sky started to fade a little bit and the Mystics started pulling away. The Sky continued to struggle throughout most of the second quarter, allowing the Mystics to amass a 10+ point lead. But, as has happened so many times in the past, the Sky finished the half strong and went into halftime trailing by only 3 points.

I actually have to stop for a moment and give the Sky major props on this. This season, they’ve been really brilliant with regards to closing out the first half strong. In this game, they closed the gap by playing strong defense, getting steals and hitting some nice shots. Basically, they cranked the intensity up a few more notches to make that run. Although a lot of players contributed to the 1st half comeback, it always seems like Epiphanny Prince is the main catalyst for making this happen.

Anyway, back to the game. After the half, the Sky’s strong play continued. They played even with DC for most of the 3rd quarter, then started pulling away at the end of the 3rd. No 3rd quarter meltdown!

The Sky continued to play strong and extend their lead at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Once they amassed a comfortable 10+ point lead, they hung on for the nice win.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this game. In an earlier post, I mentioned that during the losing streak(s), it seemed like the Sky as a tendency to start games strong then fizzle out by the end in the form of a 3rd quarter, 4th quarter or 2nd half meltdown (…or sometimes, a milder letdown). I also said that I would much rather see the Sky start slow but finished strong. That is exactly what they are doing now. It appears as if the Sky win games in which they gain momentum as the game goes on instead of starting high and losing momentum as the game progresses.

Let’s talk a little bit about the specifics…

Jia! Jia! Jia! I love it that she’s ballin’ at such a high level again. I mean, when Perkins is being aggressive she is SOOOO ridiculously hard to contain. If you play her close, she’ll slip right around you, get into the lane and cause all kinds of havoc. If you give her some space to prevent the drive, she’ll drill a long-ball in your grill. Lose-lose situation for the defense. Not to mention, she has ridiculously quick hands on defense. Jia had 5 steals! When that happens, then you also gotta deal with her on the fastbreak, and that’s never a good thing for the opposition. 20 points. 5 assists. 5 steals. 3 boards. Wow.

For the second game in a row, the entire Sky backcourt played stellar. Obviously, we just discussed Jia above, but Canty had another great game as well. I’m not 100% sure about this, but was Canty playing D on Harding? Perhaps Canty checked Katie Smith and Jia checked Harding…I don’t remember. Either way, our backcourt kept Harding in line a whole lot better this game than the last time they played the Mystics at Allstate. Sure, Harding still made some nice plays, hit some shots and got to the rim, but she wasn’t running amok, wreaking havoc like last time. Great adjustment.

Epiphanny Prince (#2 in the Rookie Rankings, baby!) was a game-changer again tonight. She brings a certain energy to the floor when she’s in the game. It’s kinda hard for me to explain. It’s not a hyper energy like, say, Tamera Young. It’s more of a controlled, focused energy. Maybe intensity is the word I’m looking for, but that’s not really it either. Prince raises the energy and intensity levels in the game without really seeming to be overly energetic or intense in her demeanor. Her “game” literally speaks for itself. Did that make any sense? Probably not. Hey, I know what I’m trying to say, I just can’t put it into words!

Rounding out the Sky backcourt was Erin Thorn. Her shot wasn’t falling tonight but that doesn’t really matter. ET’s presence on the floor is important whether she’s scoring or not. She’s a calming influence on the court for the Sky regardless as to whether she’s directing traffic, playing solid defense or knocking down treys.

*I love the Sky backcourt!*

Another big game from Big Syl. Foul trouble continues to limit what she can do defensively, but offensively, Fowles continues to amaze. I love watching her take those step-back, mini-fadeaway 8-10 footers. Thing of beauty. Another thing I wanted to note (again!) about Syl’s game is her willingness to pass out of the post this season. This is so important. Never happened in previous seasons. This game, she was passing out of the post with regularity (…cuz Mystics were collapsing on her in the lane). Even had some nice interior passes as well.  The only way an inside-out offense can truly work is if the center is willing to give the ball up when they receive it in the lane. With the development of this aspect of her game, Big Syl has truly become the “center” of the Sky’s offense…and rightfully so.

Let me talk about Abi for a second. Olajuwon finally got a few minutes this game after getting some DNP-CD’s the last few games. Let me say this…the ‘rook looks good! I’m not talking about her game (…3 minutes wasn’t really enough time to assess that…although she did fine during those minutes), I’m talking about her body (…ok, that sounded a little weird). In my opinion, it looks as if Abi has dropped a lot of weight. She almost has a perfect center’s body. She’s got a really solid base. Like, with that type of lower body, she could be an immovable object, an absolute BEAST in the paint. Yes, I realize that, as of late, the center position has kinda switched from being less Shaq-like and more like Fowles/Parker/Charles — slim and athletic. But that doesn’t mean that the old-school center build can’t work anymore in today’s league. It just brings a different look. Just looking at Abi’s physical build last night, I was like, damn, if there was ever a player to take on as a serious project; to really work with and develop…it would be Abi.

Kraayeveld, Bass, Young and Irvin…all solid. Didn’t catch any specifics on these guys this game.

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The leaders…

Leading Points
Jia Perkins — 20pts
Sylvia Fowles — 16pts
Dominique Canty — 13pts

Leading Rebounds
Sylvia Fowles — 7rbs
Dominique Canty — 5rbs
Cathrine Kraayeveld — 5rbs
Epiphanny Prince — 4rbs

Leading Assists
Jia Perkins — 5asts
Dominique Canty — 4asts

Leading Blocks
Sylvia Fowles — 2blks
Mistie Bass — 1blk
Tamera Young — 1blk

Leading Steals
Jia Perkins — 5stls
Dominique Canty — 2stls
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* A R T I C L E * Sky halts Mystics’ streak with 79-72 win (Daily Herald) — Some quotes from the article….

“We had the mentality that ‘We’re not going to lose again to this team tonight,’ ” Sky guard Jia Perkins said. “It started off in yesterday’s practice and in today’s shoot-around. We came out tonight and knew what we had to do and we did it.”

“It was the fight we showed tonight,” Canty said. “We got a lot of stops when we needed them. We had people hitting big shots, like Jia. That was the old Jia out there.”

* A R T I C L E * Defense hounds Fowles, but Perkins picks up torch (Chicago Sun-Times)

”I’m just trying to get the ball around my sweet spots more with the free dribble and just go on from there,” said Perkins, who was 8-for-14 from the field and added game highs of five assists and five steals. ”Earlier in the season, I had problems with rushing my shot and not letting the game come to me. I was forcing too much. Then I found that I could get into a better rhythm and be more comfortable if I didn’t rush things.”

”Everybody came to play tonight,” Fowles said.

* A R T I C L E * Perkins helps Sky beat Mystics 79-72 (Chicago Tribune)

* A R T I C L E * Chicago Sky Seeks Consistency in Second Straight Win vs Washington Mystics (Bleacher Report)

Tonight’s game was a microcosm of the season thus far. There were streaks within streaks: streaks of scoring, of being scored upon, of hitting shots and missing shots, of dominating and being dominated. Fortunately, the timing of the game was such that the Sky finished on a scoring and defensive streak.

* A R T I C L E * Perkins helps Sky beat Mystics (USA Today)

* C H A T T E R * Pre-game, in-game and post-game chatter going on here and here.

* B L O G * WNBA Chicago Sky Basketball (Chicago Now) — this blog post isn’t about the Sky/Mystics game, but it’s from Jane, our in-arena MC (…she FINALLY did the “Hey Sky fans! Hey Jane!” bit at this game! …brought back great memories of our 5-win season in ’06 lol 🙂 )

The WNBA’s Chicago Sky is a women’s professional basketball team in Chicago… I give the description because some of you just don’t know because they are not the BULLS and it’s not the NBA. But, I gotta tell you these women play as fierce as any male team I have ever seen.

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* N E X T   G A M E * June 27th (Sunday) — 5pm vs. Indy Fever @ *ALLSTATE ARENA*

((Be there! …but you can also watch live on LiveAccess or CN100))
((Chicago Sky (6-8) vs. Indy Fever (8-5)))

Go Sky!

~ Chicago Sky Hoops ~

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~ by audsquad on June 26, 2010.

2 Responses to “Game Notes: Sky 79, Mystics 72”

  1. 1st…like how you threw Shaq in there! LOL…1st…Ima hot mess!

    2nd…GOOD JOB! LOL. Yo…you for real need to call them mugs back and be like yes…I’ll write for you! They need you! You’re a team writer…you hook everyone up!

    You’re good girl…4 real! You’re the best babe!! 😉

    Glad the Sky won…super happy for them…if we can give them encouragement like…THEY CAN WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP instead of oh…just make .500…them mugs aint NEVER gonna do it!

    Geesh…I really expect more out of you SKY fans…Im not even a SKY fan and I’m the ONE dreaming BIG for them…SMH!

    COME ON Aud!!!

    GREAT JOB…as always…yo gimmy the Sky #…Ima call and tell em…you was just playin’….LOL

    • oh, I absolutely love your comments, Jess! They’re freakin’ hilarious!

      If the Sky can’t even make the playoffs, how they gonna win the title?! Can’t put the cart before the horse…

      And yeah, I hook everyone up when they win. When they lose, I just pout and refuse to blog lol 🙂

      Oh, and not only did I put a Shaq shout out in the blog, but I did it without sarcasm or haterade. Go, me!

      Feel free to add 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th to each one of my sentences 🙂

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