Courtside Blog - July 19 vs. Silver Stars

We’re back! Dave here again, welcoming you to the scorers’ table at the UIC Pavilion for tonight’s contest between the Sky and the San Antonio Silver Stars.

Before I type anything else, I have to congratulate Sylvia Fowles and Candice Dupree who were both named to the starting lineup for the All-Star game! A big thank you goes out to all the fans that voted. It’ll be great to see some Sky players on the court this Saturday in Connecticut!

Speaking of Sylvia, she’s back in the starting lineup tonight. Sounds like that knee has healed up well enough for her to play—a great sign for the Sky!

I spoke with Head Coach Steven Key during pregame to get his thoughts on tonight’s game. Key said he wanted his team to focus on limiting the chances for Sophia Young and Becky Hammon. He felt that making players other than Young and Hammon make the plays for San Antonio would boost the Sky’s chances of getting the victory.

Just before the tip and there’s one big update I have for you—Ruth Riley is in street clothes. The 6’5” center from Notre Dame has a knee injury and according to the San Antonio radio crew, she’s been shut down until the All-Star break. Erin Perperoglou (that’s pronounced pair-pair-uh-glue, I’m told) will start in her place.

It’s just about time for tip-off, and I’m watching Chicago native and current Charlotte Bobcat forward Juwan Howard walk to his courtside seat to take in tonight’s action!

After losing five of their last six, I think it’s time for the Sky to go on a nice winning streak heading into the All-Star break, don’t you? Let’s get it started tonight!

Sweet home Chicago! It’s a 9-0 run for the Sky to open this one, just three minutes in! San Antonio takes a timeout, but Chicago makes it 11-0 shortly after that. Right now, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything the Silver Stars can do to slow down the Sky offense.

With 3:46 to go, San Antonio is finally on the board. But it’s a 16-2 Sky lead! The last few times the Sky have been on offense, Silver Stars Head Coach Dan Hughes has been up off the bench, trying to convince the officials to call a foul against the Sky when Chicago is on defense. He has been rather calm—so far he’s been calm, at least.

Coming home after a tough road trip, I don’t think you could ask for a better start from the Sky. After one, it’s 22-7 in favor of Chicago.

A few minutes into the second quarter, Fowles drove hard to the basket and drew a foul on San Antonio center Katie Mattera, causing a series of reactions from the Silver Stars. First, Mattera yelled “No!” in disbelief, then coach Hughes was standing on the sidelines with his hands out to the side, asking, “How?!” Sky still leading big, 25-15.

Sylvia gets called for two consecutive traveling violations, and now it’s Coach Key’s turn to talk to the officials—I think he disagreed with that second call. He was just as calm as Hughes until two fouls were called against the Sky, now he’s having a rather lively discussion with one of the officials just in front of the Sky bench. Still, with 4:03 left in the half, the Sky lead 32-19.

Dominique Canty makes a beautiful pass to Perkins leading the break; she lays it in and draws the foul! Coach Hughes’ face is turning red; he looks frustrated with his team’s performance in the half. Perkins completes the 3-point play, it’s a 43-25 lead for Chicago, and we’ll go to the half with that score.

The Sky’s two All-Stars and a third player that could be joining them in Connecticut are leading the way. Candice has 11 points, Fowles has 9 and Perkins is leading the Sky with 12 points. What a half!

3:36 left in the third, and as Hammon hits two 3-pointers for San Antonio, they’re starting to close the gap a bit. Coach Key wisely calls a timeout, with his team still leading 53-44. Before Hammon’s shots, it didn’t look like the Silver Stars were ever going to get into this one. The Sky will need to get some baskets coming out of the timeout to retake control of the momentum.

And they do just that! Two quick baskets move the lead up to 57-44, now with 2:13 left, and this time it’s Hughes calling a timeout to settle his team down. Great job by the Sky to execute after a timeout, and the UIC Pavilion crowd is letting them know how much they appreciate it!

As San Antonio was coming down the court on a fast break late in the third, it looked like a young fan sitting near the court lost control of a small orange ball and it rolled on to the court. Kristi Toliver was the first one to see it, and she made a brilliant bare-handed scoop, gently tossed it back to the crowd, and got right back on defense! She must have been a shortstop in her younger years with a play like that.

The Sky kept control of the ballgame for the rest of the quarter, after three it’s 59-48 Sky still leading.

Early in the fourth, Coach Hughes jumped off the bench to argue a call, and was quickly hit with a technical foul by the official. That technical really set Hughes off as he started yelling across the court at the ref, getting close to earning a second technical. Assistant Coach Olaf Lange jumped off the bench to restrain him before Hughes got himself ejected from the game.

When San Antonio has the ball, it’s become the Becky Hammon Show. She’s now up to 20 points, and her offense is the main reason the Sky’s lead has been cut down to 7. It’s 66-59, with 6:41 to go. Coach Key just took a timeout, I think he’s going to remind his team what he told me before the game—they have to limit her chances.

Toliver picks up a screen from Fowles, fires a three … nothing but net! And on the next possession, she does it again!! This place is going crazy! The Silver Stars had made it a 5-point game, but now the Sky is leading 78-67.

San Antonio takes a timeout, and the entire Chicago bench hops up to congratulate Toliver. I think she just sealed this one.

The final seconds tick off the clock, and the UIC Pavilion crowd comes to their feet—it’s another victory at home for the Sky! Your final score is 85-75. While Toliver’s 3-pointers were huge, my player of the game would have to be Jia Perkins, who scored 29 points—once again proving that she is worthy of an All-Star nomination.

We’ll be back here early Wednesday for an 11:30 tip-off between the Sky and the New York Liberty. We hope to see you here! Go Sky!