‘It’s a hard pill to swallow’: Sky season ends with tough loss in semi-finals
“It’s probably one of the biggest disappointments I’ve had professionally.”
James Wade entered the press conference room with a somber tone, with tension from sadness in his face. The Sky scored just 5 points in the fourth quarter and missed 13 shots, ending their season in a Game 5 loss to the Connecticut Sun, 72-63.
“It’s hard to put into words right now,” Wade said. “This is probably going to hurt me for a long time. I felt like I could’ve done a better job of getting them a bucket, and I just couldn’t get them one.”
Heading into the final 10 minutes of play, the game looked like it was going in a different direction. Sky basketball was back with fast offense and tight defensive coverage all night, and Emma Meesseman laid one in in the final seconds of the third quarter, giving Chicago a 10 point cushion.
“I feel like we had the game. We’re all looking, up 10 going into the fourth quarter, thinking that we’re in control,” Courtney Vandersloot said. “To have it end the way it did, it’s a hard pill to swallow. We didn’t make the plays we’ve made all season in the fourth quarter. We just couldn’t get the ball to go in the basket in the fourth quarter. We scored 5 points. That’s the story of it right there.”
It started at the 4:46 mark of the fourth quarter. The Sky showed what ‘playing beautiful basketball’ was for the last time as Parker swatted Jonquel Jones’ shot, moved the ball up the floor to Kahleah Copper who laid in the final bucket for the Sky.
On the other end of the floor, Copper was under the basket and fouled DeWanna Bonner; the tension and physicality felt all series poured over in that moment as they exchanged feisty words to where Parker had to pull Copper to the sideline.
“[Kahleah] gives us everything. She gave everything defensively, offensively, energy wise. She’s done it for us all year. I just appreciate her fight, her grit and what she means to every single person in the locker room and this organization,” Wade said.
As officials reviewed the foul call to see if it was a flagrant foul, both teams went to their respective benches. The Sky came out and had great looks, but the ball couldn’t find the bottom of the net.
Meanwhile, the Sun found the lane and went on an 18-0 run to seal the victory and end the Sky’s season.
While the fourth quarter was silent for Chicago, the Sky’s individual numbers are nothing to disregard. Copper led all scorers with 22 points followed by Meesseman with 14 points. Vandersloot finished with 12 points. Parker was held to just 7 points followed by Quigley’s 3 points.
“I definitely don’t remember a quarter like this,” Quigley said. “It might be the first in the history of our franchise. I think we take ownership of being on the court and being the ones that didn’t make the baskets when we should. We win as a team; we lose as a team. It’s all of us.”