Quigley, Vandersloot, Dolson Powering Sky

Brent Meske

The Chicago Sky’s threesome of Allie Quigley, Courtney Vandersloot and Stefanie Dolson have caught fire in 2017 and are currently in the process of career years.

First-year general manager and head coach Amber Stocks has presented Quigley with a starting role for the first time in her career, now in her ninth season. She’s started all 21 games she’s appeared in this season after starting just eight of her 168 previous career games. Based on her production, it seems like a long time coming.

The DePaul alumnus is averaging a career-high 17.1 points, 3.3 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game. She’s also shooting a career-best 52.9 from the floor and 46.7 percent from three (more than 10 games played). Her three-point shooting percentage is third in the WNBA while her points per game mark is tenth.

The ninth-year guard’s raw numbers are just as impressive as her averages this season. Quigley is 21 points and nine rebounds away from career-bests. She’s already passed her best assist total for a season, currently at 70 and counting.

Quigley’s hot hand has led to her leading the team in scoring in 10 of her 21 games this season. A big part of that has been her success from beyond the arc, and in her last three games she is shooting a blistering 62.5 percent. It is no wonder Quigley was crowned Three-Point Champion at her first WNBA All-Star appearance in Seattle.

Vandersloot is experiencing similar success as her backcourt partner. “Slooty” has always been a passer, never having less than 100 assists in a WNBA season and never averaging less than 3.7 a game, but this season she is averaging 7.5 a game while adding 9.5 points and a career-best 3.8 rebounds. Her 7.5 assists per game currently paces the league this season.

The consistency of the seventh-year guard in not only putting the ball in the basket herself, but assisting teammates in doing the same, has led her to a team-high six double-doubles this season. She entered 2017 with three and is now fifth in franchise history with nine. Her 127 assists this season have moved her to 1,036 for her career and within two of moving into 20th in WNBA history. She entered the season outside of the top-25.

In 17 games this season, Vandersloot has amassed 127 assists. Not only is that the quickest she’s hit that mark in her career, but it shatters the 84.2 assists she averaged in the first 17 games over each of her last six seasons.

The backcourt duo has been successful all season, but especially so in the last eight games. Quigley has scored 20-or-more and Vandersloot has recorded a double-double in five of those games. In that span, Quigley is averaging 19 points and Vandersloot 9.5 assists.

The Sky have grown accustomed to the talents of Quigley and Vandersloot, but Dolson is a new face in 2017, and it’s safe to say fans have taken to her.

Dolson has also been given the confidence to show off her all-star talent under Stocks. The former UCONN center became an everyday starter in 2015 and would go on to start 94 percent of the games in her final two seasons with the Washington Mystics. In her first season with the Sky, Dolson has started every one of her 23 games and is averaging 14.2 points and 5.8 rebounds a game compared to 8.6 points and 4.9 rebounds a game in three seasons with Washington.

Dolson’s points haven’t just come from throwing the ball up and praying for success. Her 55.2 shooting percentage is currently fifth in the WNBA while her 38.5 percent success rate from three is tenth. Dolson has made 20 threes this year, doubling her previous season high mark of 10.

The big three in Chicago have a mix of veteran experience and youth serving as a support cast around them. Eleventh year guard Cappie Pondexter and fifth year forward Jessica Breland have both been key in their roles this year, with Breland adding double-doubles and clutch baskets precisely and quietly and Pondexter adding to her prolific career moving up on all-time leader charts for assists, free-throws made, points and is two field goals shy from moving up to fourth all-time in field goals made. The other six roster spots are comprised of a combined 10 years WNBA experience.

As the veterans continue to play with versatility, it leaves room for young talent and future draft picks to supplement a new era of Sky basketball.