WNBA: Chicago Sky clinch fifth-straight playoff appearance

After a season of ups and downs that consisted of losing streaks, an altering of coaches and injuries to core skill, the Chicago Sky have actually formally punched their ticket to the WNBA playoffs for the fifth-consecutive year. Chicago beat the Minnesota Lynx in their last house video game 92-87. The win gotten rid of the Los Angeles Sparks from playoff contention.

The Sky started slow on the offending end. While they had some great appearances and kept the ball moving, the shots wouldn’t fall. At one point in the very first quarter, the Sky were 21 percent from the field compared to 69 percent for the Lynx.

From the 2nd quarter onward, Chicago substantially closed the shooting space, completing with a 46.7-percent efficiency from the field compared to Minnesota’s 50.8 percent. More especially, the Sky outshot the Lynx in 3-point portion, half to 36.8 percent. Leading the charge in that latter classification was Kahleah Copper and Marina Mabrey. Along with her team-high 20 points, Copper went 5-for-8 from beyond the arc, consisting of a 3 which she drained pipes in the face of Diamond Miller, drawing a technical nasty. Mabrey was not far behind with 19 points, going 4-for-7 from downtown.

Courtney Williams had another great night of playmaking that consisted of 13 points and 11 helps. Alanna Smith, who returned after being out with a concussion, completed sturdily with 11 points. Elizabeth Williams had 4 points, 4 rebounds and 4 helps.

How Chicago punched their playoff ticket

It eventually was the following 3 classifications that brought Chicago over the bulge and into the playoffs:

The bench came alive

Without Rebekah Gardner and Isabelle Harrison for nearly the whole season, Chicago’s bench was diminished of depth. Yet, Dana Evans, Ruthy Hebard and Sika Kone’ came through in huge methods.

Evans, who debuted her brand-new Jordan Brand shoe, was a commanding existence who had fun with the incredible energy quality of someone deserving of Sixth Player of the Year. She completed with 9 points and was 3-for-4 from the totally free toss line. Some on the sidelines were yelling, “It’s gotta be the shoes!”

Hebard was common. She was all over the court and worked in more methods than one. She completed with the greatest shooting portion on the group at 80 percent, was best from the totally free toss line and amounted to 10 points. Kone’ was ruthless on the glass and scored when she got the possibility. She led the group with 10 overall rebounds, 7 of which were protective boards. She completed with 6 points.

In overall, the Sky controlled the Lynx 25-1 in bench points.

Strong defense

The Sky made up for their early shooting troubles with first-class pressure-packed defense. Even though the Lynx were shooting much better, the Sky kept the video game low scoring for much of the very first half. And as the video game advanced, they held their defense together.


Above all, the Sky corresponded at both ends, which has actually been among their Achilles’ heels this season. Too frequently, they have actually gone on a run, gotten positive and after that broken down in a video game’s latter phases. But after they outscored the Lynx 28-20 in the 2nd quarter, they never ever gave up. Even when it appeared Minnesota would make a severe resurgence, Chicago stood strong.

Final ideas from Vatansaver, Copper

Afterwards, interim head coach Emre Vatansaver revealed straight-out pleasure about his group. He likewise highlighted the value of being a player-first coach, making sure that his gamers do not simply make it through however grow. “This is not about me,” he stated. “I was trying to make my goal when I took over the job that this is going to be our season. My motivation was to make the journey for them enjoyable. To see my players make the playoffs gives me a lot of joy because these guys are in the spotlight and trying to do something to advance everyday.”

Copper spoke on the group’s mindset as they go into the playoffs after a season of tremendous problems. “Going into the postseason, you see teams peak at the right time,” she stated. “That is what we wanted to do. We had some pressure. We wanted to make the playoffs but it was important for our mentality to change because our backs were up against the wall. So this is when you see the true character, you see teams come together, you see teams working it out offensively and defensively.”

Currently, the Sky are the No. 8 seed, which would lead to a first-round series versus the No. 1 seed Las Vegas Aces. Yet, playoff matches will not be settled till the buzzer sounds on Sunday’s six-game slate. Entering the last day of regular-season action, the playoff photo is:

  • No. 1 seed: Las Vegas Aces (33-6)
  • No. 2 seed: New York Liberty (32-7)
  • No. 3 seed: Connecticut Sun (27-12)
  • No. 4 seed: Dallas Wings (21-18)
  • No. 5 seed: Atlanta Dream (19-20)
  • No. 6 seed: Minnesota Lynx (19-20)
  • No. 7 seed: Washington Mystics (18-21)
  • No. 8 seed: Chicago Sky (17-22)

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