(Allie Quigley photo courtesy WNBA/Getty Images)
After a travel nightmare earlier this week, the Chicago Sky hope things will go more smoothly on the road Saturday night when they try to extend the Atlanta Dream’s struggles.
The Sky (11-9) were sent into a logistical scramble ahead of Tuesday night’s game at Connecticut when their scheduled flight Monday was delayed and then eventually canceled due to severe weather. That started a chain reaction in which most of the players did not arrive at their hotel room until 5 a.m. local time Tuesday morning in Connecticut, which prompted coach James Wade to cancel their morning shootaround.
The players did not use the travel issues – a talking point throughout the league that has gained greater public awareness as WNBA players have shared their stories on social media – as an excuse, but there were clearly points of disjointed play as Chicago nearly overcame a 14-point halftime deficit but had its four-game winning streak snapped with the 100-94 loss to the Sun.
“It affects you a lot,” forward Cheyenne Parker told the Chicago Sun-Times via phone interview. “I know for myself and a couple of other players, we swell up in our legs and feet when we travel.
“Being active, having to run up and down a court the next day, it can really play a toll. Thankfully no one got hurt tonight, but it’s definitely not something we should do. It’s not healthy.”
Allie Quigley scored 24 points and Courtney Vandersloot added 22 and 11 assists for the Sky, whose issues came on the defensive end as the Sun hit 50 percent of their shots and sank 10 of 25 from 3-point range. Chicago is second in the league in scoring at 80.5 points per game, but its defense continues to be a work in progress as it ranks ahead of only New York in points allowed (80.3).
Chicago, though, could find some success defensively playing the WNBA’s worst offensive team in Atlanta. The Dream (5-16), who average a league-low 69.2 points, are also riding a season-worst six-game losing streak into this contest after a 61-59 defeat at Indiana on Wednesday night.
Atlanta had three chances to send the game into overtime, but Tiffany Hayes missed a layup and Elizabeth Williams had two point-blank shots blocked by Teaira McCowan. The defeat was all the more frustrating considering the Dream went scoreless over the final 4:18, getting outscored 7-0, and held the Fever to one fourth-quarter basket – Erica Wheeler’s go-ahead layup with 11.9 seconds to play.
The Dream have not shot above 39 percent in any game during their losing streak and are connecting on just 23 percent of their 3-point shots (28 for 122) in that stretch. Chicago contributed to Atlanta’s losing streak with a 77-76 home win July 17 as Stefanie Dolson made a go-ahead layup with 2.3 seconds to play, capping a fourth-quarter rally from an eight-point deficit.