With 4 of our 34 regular season games at rest we stand (1-3). The season started out May 20th with a great win at Charlotte where rookie sensation Candice Dupree posted game highs in points with 19 and rebounds with 6. With this victory we found a team that is determined and ready for a game to come down to the wire. Our team possesses some great individual talent, but more importantly, individual talent that is used to winning as a team.
Taking this momentum from game one into an electrifying home opener was amazing. Just walking onto our very own court at the UIC Pavilion in front of nearly 5,200 screaming and yelling fans could not have felt any better. A team that was carved all the way down to the May 19th deadline would now be tested against last seasons WNBA champion Sacramento Monarchs. The anticipation of success seemed to show in each of our players, but we came up short of a victory. The Monarchs and Nicole Powell (game high 19 points) seemed to never look back in the second half of play, in the end outscoring the Sky 76-63. Ashley Robinson pulled down a team high 8 rebounds with great determination, and Stacey Lovelace-Tolbert posted a team high 11 points.
Going into game 3 against the Indiana Fever brought an elevated amount of intensity to our practices. With two games to reflect on, opportunities to increase our level of play began to show. Our offensive struggle to put points on the board in game three seemed to mirror that of game two, and our defensive mistakes were difficult to overcome. Trying a different starting five in game three than the two previous games did not seem to be the answer either. Jia Perkins, posting a game high 16 points in 22:26 of play, could not make up for the 44-34 rebounding edge Indiana held on the Sky. Liz Shimek received her first taste of WNBA action since her trade from Houston on May 12. The potential this individual has to contribute to this team and what she brings to our program is going to make this season that much more special.
On Tuesday May 30th, ESPN2 and Lisa Leslies Los Angeles Sparks came into the UIC Pavilion looking to better their record to (3-1), while we looked to get back to (2-2) on the season. A knee injury prevented Chelsea Newton from entering the game, while shin splints kept Elaine Powell on the sidelines. Anytime a WNBA game can be center stage to national television coverage you can expect great things to happen. National coverage allows an extended number of fans to view and gives our local fans coverage on their hometown team. With a preseason win over the Sparks, we were expecting everything they had to offer, especially from veteran Lisa Leslie who had 16 rebounds and 19 points on Tuesday night. In the third quarter we were down 18 desperately needing someone to step up. Jia Perkins and Amanda Lassiter did so, chipping away at the lead with a dominating fashion. On the defensive end Stacey Lovelace-Tolbert pulled down 9 great rebounds as well as 2 on the offensive end. The Sky was in reaching distance of the lead, but could not take it over. We played a hard fought game until the end, and this game helped our athletes realize that we can compete with the best.
We had the honor of recognizing and supporting our men and women who serve America in our military appreciation night. It was a great night for Sky basketball fans, and a great night for our players.
Looking ahead to the upcoming week we expect the arrival of Bernadette Ngoyisa. Friday we face the Comets (2-1) at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Ready. Set. Soar.