2014: This is Our Moment
Following its first ever playoff run in 2013, the Chicago Sky entered the 2014 season with a confident young roster, ready to build on its previous success. To go along with a combination of returning superstars, including 2013 Defensive Player of the Year Sylvia Fowles and 2013 Rookie of the Year Elena Delle Donne, the Sky brought in many new faces, all of whom were eager to help the team return to the postseason.
As the regular season began on May 16th, the Sky faced an immediate challenge, having lost Sylvia Fowles to a hip injury. Despite the challenge, the new-look Sky still fired on all cylinders, winning its first four games to mark the team’s best start in franchise history. Elena Delle Donne led the Sky’s scoring efforts and was named Eastern Conference Player of the Month, while Courtney Vandersloot became the Sky’s all-time assist leader. Things were definitely looking up for the Sky, but more challenges were coming.
Fowles’ injury was just the first in a 2014 regular season campaign marked by injury and illness, as the Sky spent the majority of the season battling a constantly fluctuating roster. Fowles was forced to miss the first half of the season, while a flare-up of Lyme disease benched Elena Delle Donne for 17 games in June and July. At the same time, a knee injury sidelined Courtney Vandersloot for 17 games in July and August, leaving the team with a lot of holes to fill.
Head Coach Pokey Chatman tried many different combinations to help the team find its rhythm. She found a star in Allie Quigley, who carried the team’s offense off the bench on her way to being named the WNBA’s Sixth Woman of the Year. By early August, many of the Sky’s injured players had returned, and the team found itself in close contention to make the playoffs. With a 5-3 run to end the season, the Sky posted a 15-19 record, narrowly edging out the Liberty for the fourth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
With a clean slate and a full roster, the Sky faced the top-seeded Dream in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, splitting the first two games before pulling off the biggest fourth-quarter comeback in WNBA playoff history to win the series in Game 3. Elena Delle Donne scored a career-high 34 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, to give the Sky its first ever playoff series win.
The Sky advanced to play the Indiana Fever in the Eastern Conference Finals. After losing Game 1 in Indiana, the Sky faced elimination at home in Game 2 but pulled through with an 86-84 victory in double overtime. In Game 3, a 24-point performance by Allie Quigley gave the Sky a 75-62 win, clinching the Eastern Conference Championship title and sending the Sky to the WNBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. In the Finals, the Sky faced Phoenix and fell to the Mercury in three games, including a close Game 3 in front of the home crowd at the UIC Pavilion.
While the 2014 Sky fell just short of winning it all, there were many reasons to be proud of what the team accomplished during a season of adversity. Despite the challenges they faced, the Sky put together an unforgettable run, lighting the way for a very bright future.
2014 Chicago Sky Team Photo
Back Row: Jessica Breland, Gennifer Brandon, Elena Delle Donne, Sylvia Fowles, Sasha Goodlett, Markeisha Gatling, Tamera Young
Front Row: Courtney Vandersloot, Epiphanny Prince, Allie Quigley, Courtney Clements, Jamierra Faulkner