“It was just one of those games,” Allie Quigley told reporters in a post-game conference on Tuesday evening.
The Dallas Wings bested the Chicago Sky using consistent physicality to pull ahead. 16 turnovers foretold the Sky’s demise, along with a continuation of a recent three-point slump first noticeable in last Tuesday’s Commissioner’s Cup Final.
The Wings were missing high-scoring guard Arike Ogunbowale, out with an ankle injury. Northwestern’s Veronica Burton started in Ogunbowale’s stead. The rookie put together an eight point, nine rebound performance, along with a career-high three steals. Marina Mabrey led all players with 26 points. Teaira McCowan was trouble on both ends of the court. She shot 8-for-12 from the field, and pulled 12 rebounds. The Sky had no answer to McCowan until the fourth quarter, where Azurá Stevens finally blocked McCowan’s attempted three-foot layup.
“Dallas is Physical,” Stevens told reporters after the game.
“The refs didn’t call much. We don’t know what we’re getting from them. We responded in the fourth. We were physical back. Just gotta do that for 40 minutes.”
Tensions were rising for both benches with Coach James Wade and Kahleah Copper visibly expressing displeasure with calls in the fourth. The Sky and Wings both evened on foul calls, at 20 a piece. This was an uncharacteristically poor free throw shooting game for the Sky. They entered this game leading the league in free throw percentage, at 83.0%. At halftime, they were shooting just 58.3%, and finished the game at a slightly improved 63.6%.
The Sky attempted a late comeback with a 18-7 run from 6:14 to 0:19 in the fourth quarter, pulling within two points of the Wings. Kahleah Copper was named player of the game, and recorded her second consecutive double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
A recurring theme this week for the Sky has been putting the work in early. Dallas kept it a close ballgame for the first quarter, gradually widening their lead to 14 points in the third. In the post-game presser, Coach Wade noted the importance of pulling ahead early.
“If you do early work, you can fall on your butt and still be ok. I’d rather fall on my butt than on my face.”
Five games remain in the regular season, with three remaining at home. The Sky will take on the Washington Mystics on Friday, August 5. Tip-off at Wintrust Arena is at 7 p.m. CT.