Consistency issues continue to plague Sky in blowout loss to Lynx
The Chicago Sky is the third-youngest team in the WNBA and while that youth can be exciting, it can also be a liability.
Consistency seems to be the young Sky's biggest issue, both over the course of the season, and within the context of a single game.
The Sky can win three games in a row as it did in late June, and then lose five of six, as it did from mid-to-late-July.
On Tuesday, against the Minnesota Lynx at Wintrust Arena, the Sky was once again on the youth yo-yo.
After scoring 26 points in the first quarter to build a 9-point lead, the Sky scored just 12 points in the second quarter to take a 1-point deficit into the halftime locker room.
The scoring lulls continued in the second half as the Sky was outscored by 20 points and Minnesota, the defending WNBA champion, coasted to an 85-64 victory over the Sky, which is still fighting for the eighth and final spot in the WNBA playoffs.
The Sky, which drops to 10-19 with five games left, scored just 15 points in the third quarter and a measly 11 points in the fourth.
And yet, as fits with the consistency theme, the Sky defeated Minnesota easily the last time the two times met, 77-63 in early July.
"We couldn't score," said Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot, one of only three players on the team with more than four years of WNBA experience. "We had 12, 15 and 11 points the last three quarters. That's not enough to win a game. That's what it comes down to. We couldn't score the basketball on our homecourt."
The Sky gets another try at home on Friday against visiting Connecticut and then has three road games in a row before closing the season at home against Indiana on Aug. 19. There is essentially no room for error for the Sky, which needs to win out and get help from teams such as Dallas and Las Vegas (in the form of losses) to make the playoffs.
The Sky missed the playoffs last season after four consecutive playoff runs from 2013 to 2016.
Minnesota, which moves to 16-13, had struggled heading into its game with the Sky with losses in the previous three games, but is trying to get back to championship form.
Forward Maya Moore did her part, scoring a game-high 31 points for the Lynx on 11-of-17 shooting, including a 4-of-6 clip from 3-point range.
Former Sky star center Sylvia Fowles finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds for Minnesota while Danielle Robinson had 12 points (and 11 assists), Cecilla Zandalasini had 11 points and Seimone Augustus had 10 points. The Lynx were playing without two starters, Rebekkah Brunson and point guard Lindsay Whalen.
Sky guard Allie Quigley continued her hot shooting from the All-Star Game, where she won the 3-point shooting contest for the second year in a row with a record 29 points. She hit 4-of-7 shots from downtown against the Lynx to finish with a team-high 22 points.
Vandersloot added 11 points and Cheyenne Parker came off the bench to score 10 points.
"We have to keep our aggressiveness on (level) '10,' Sky coach Amber Stocks said when asked what her team needs to do in order to force its way into the playoffs. "The message is to do what we do, and make it better."