June 15, 2021 

Rising tides are lifting the Sky

How Candace Parker, Allie Quigley made the difference in back-to-back wins

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Candace Parker. Screenshot via WNBA Content network

It’s said that a rising tide lifts all boats, and Candace Parker and Allie Quigley are proving to be that rising tide for the Chicago Sky (4-7).

After nearly drowning in seven losses, while Parker rehabbed from an ankle injury, and Quigley nursed an aching hamstring, the Sky came roaring back with Parker and Quigley back on the court against the bottom-cellar Indiana Fever (1-11) in home-and-home games.

In Saturday’s 83-79 win in Indianapolis, Parker’s 135th double-double of her lengthy career included 20 points and 14 rebounds. Quigley, coming off the bench, added much-needed outside shooting, scoring six of her 16 points in the final two minutes and putting the game out of reach for the woebegone Fever.

“I honestly rehabbed my ass off the last three weeks to even put myself in a position to be back on the court,” Parker said after the Sky’s 92-76 Thursday win at home. “I’m just happy to be out playing basketball. It wasn’t the prettiest, but it’ll get there. It’ll get better.”

The ‘Parker Effect’

Parker’s impact was immediately evident. With a starting five of Kahleah Copper, Parker, Diamond DeShields, Stefanie Dolson and Courtney Vandersloot, every member of the Sky that entered the game scored. The team was +34 in point differential with Parker dressed for games, and is undefeated when Parker has been active.

Despite the Sky’s current record, they are now 4-2 in the race for the league’s inaugural WNBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Currently tied for second in the Cup standings with the Atlanta Dream, only the WNBA-leading Connecticut Sun (8-3) has more points.

The Commissioner’s Cup was created as part of the WNBA’s 25th Anniversary celebration. The in-season tournament, which bears similarities to the NWSL’s Challenge Cup, has a $500,000 prize pool and an additional $5,000 bonus for the championship MVP.

Over next eight games, half will be counted toward the Commissioner’s Cup Besides Saturday’s game, the other games to be counted are Connecticut on June 17, New York on June 22 and Connecticut again on June 27.

The winning teams in the Eastern Conference and Western Conference will meet in a championship game on August 12 in Phoenix. Players the winning team will be awarded up to $30,000 each, while the runners-up stand to make $10,000 per person.

The return of Lexie Brown

On Monday, the Sky announced they had re-signed WNBA veteran guard Lexie Brown the daughter of retired NBA star Dee Brown, for the remainder of the 2021 season. (Of course, we already told you that would happen.)

Brown spent one season with the Connecticut Sun, who drafted the guard ninth overall in the 2018 WNBA Draft, and the 2019-20 seasons with the Minnesota Lynx. She started in 13 of 17 appearances for Minnesota while in the WNBA Bubble last season. Brown also previous on-court playing time with Sky guard Diamond DeShields and forward Azurá Stevens in high school and college.

This year, Brown impressed in the Sky’s fifth home game against the Phoenix Mercury on June 1. The former Duke Blue Devil played 20 minutes, recording four assists as well as scoring two points. 

Moving Forward…”Hearts are in the right spot”

“At the end of the day, I think everybody’s hearts are in the right spot,” Parker said. “And I said that when we were going through our losing streak. It’s all positive energy.”

And how do they plan on continuing their winning streak?

“We’re getting more comfortable,” Parker said. “Next play up, next game up — that’s the mentality we have to have. Look, we lost seven in a row. Now we have the opportunity to continue to get better. We’re gonna just keep battling.”

The Sky will face the Minnesota Lynx (3-5) on Tuesday, June 15 at 8:00p CT at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

Written by Alison Moran-Powers

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