Storm breeze past Sky, but show team promise for future
There is hope for the Chicago Sky.
In the form of the Seattle Storm.
The Seattle Storm is currently the No. 1 team in the WNBA. But just a year ago, the Storm had a losing record.
In fact, the Storm had losing records the previous two seasons as well.
All the while, Seattle was busy acquiring some of the best young talent in the WNBA draft, first Chicago-area native Jewell Loyd out of Niles West and then Breanna Stewart.
Both Loyd, a star at Notre Dame, and Stewart, a three-time NCAA player of the year and a four-time NCAA champion out of Connecticut, experienced something in Seattle that they very seldom did in college: losing.
"I'm tired of losing," Stewart had said at one point. "We all are. If you look at this team, most of the players on the roster are used to winning."
As Loyd, Stewart and their teammates grew together over time and gained some chemistry, the wins started to follow. And now in Stewart's third year and Loyd's fourth, Seattle is a formidable contender for the WNBA championship.
The Storm flexed those championship contender muscles Wednesday afternoon in a breezy 101-83 victory over the Chicago Sky at Wintrust Arena in the South Loop. The Sky, which lately has been acquiring one promising rookie after the other, in Seattle-type fashion, is hoping Seattle's blueprint for success can one day be its own.
Right now, the Sky, which starts two rookies in Diamond DeShields and Gabby Williams and plays a total of four rookies, has a ways to go, having dropped to 7-16 on the season after four straight losses and eight losses in the last nine games.
Seattle, which got a game-high 30 points from Stewart and 20 points from Loyd, improves to 17-6 and has won seven of its last eight games.
"Our youth, as those core players continue to play together and get more rhythm together, you'll see a lot more open up for us for us in the future," Sky coach Amber Stocks said.
A total of four players scored in double-figures for Seattle, which hurt the Sky from distance by hitting 11 3-pointers.
Alysha Clark added 14 points and Natasha Howard had 11 points for Seattle. Veteran point guard Sue Bird, now in her 16th season, finished with 11 assists.
Stewart, Loyd and Bird were named all-stars for Seattle on Tuesday.
Chicago's all-star, Allie Quigley, finished with a team-high 18 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range. Quigley is seeing more and more defensive attention as she continues to put up big numbers.
"I just have to read the defense and if they're taking something away, sometimes I just have to be OK with cutting away and spacing the floor," Quigley said. "It's just about reading the defense and not overthinking it.
"I am (getting more defensive attention). But you just have to adjust to it."
Four other players scored in double-figures for the Sky. DeShields, Stefanie Dolson and Kahleah Copper each had 14 points and Courtney Vandersloot finished with 11 points.