Brian’s Courtside Blog - June 7 vs Atlanta

Hey Sky fans, Brian here from the scorer’s table again. The Sky’s dream weekend continued tonight as they played host the Atlanta Dream for the first time in team history. Last night, the Sky and the Dream locked horns down in Atlanta, with the Sky prevailing, 86-72.

Over time, teams can develop strong dislikes and become rivals. Perhaps the Sky and the Dream will become such rivals, as they are the WNBA’s two newest teams and are out to prove that they can compete with everyone else in the league. Plus, they will meet four times this season and I am sure an ounce of bad blood or two may develop in the heat of battle.

The Sky picked up right where they left off last night, outscoring the Dream by 9 in the first frame, led by Armintie Price, who had 2 steals to go along with 7 points in the quarter. It was nice to see Price get off to such a good start. In her last two home games combined, she only scored 4 points on 1 of 10 shooting from the floor. TV color analyst Stacey King asked Coach Key at the half of the LA game how he was going to get more production out of Price, and Key said, “She’s doing exactly what we asked her to do.” Price held Candace Parker to only 12 points and 7 rebounds, tying her season low. And held her to only one assist in the game, well below her 6.25 apg average for the previous 4 games. Parker also fouled out for the first time this season. Still, it’s nice to see AP scoring and grabbing rebounds. She was back to form in Atlanta last night, finishing with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, and looks to be on track for that kind of performance tonight.

Fowles was in attendance tonight, in street clothes and on crutches. Ugh. I can’t wait to see her back out on the court in a few weeks. And the dunk watch can begin again. Just hoping Parker and Leslie don’t do it first.

When you’re hot, you’re hot, and the Sky’s performance in the first half was exactly that. At the break the Sky led 52-26, their largest lead at halftime in franchise history! I don’t know if it is the weather outside or if the team is finally coming together, but the Sky played their best half of basketball I have ever seen them play. The team had a 5 a.m. flight back from Atlanta this morning, so maybe they all got long naps today. Or maybe Coach Key picked up on something, because this team was ready to go from the opening tip. The Sky coasted to victory, never trailing in the game, winning 91-70, the largest win margin in franchise history.

I remember sitting in this very seat 3 seasons ago, watching the Sky go through their growing pains as an expansion team. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for a professional athlete to struggle through a season like the Dream is experiencing this year, and the Sky experienced 3 years ago. I hope nothing but the best for them, but from what I saw on the floor tonight, it could be a long season for the league’s newest team.

Towards the end of the game, I witnessed something along these lines. Betty Lennox of the Dream missed a three pointer. On her way down the floor to play defense, she rolled her eyes and muttered something under her breath. On a bright note, after the game was over, Jennifer Lacy of the Dream gave an interview to Atlanta’s radio right in front of me. Just before she went on the air, Dream Head Coach Marynell Meadors came over to greet her with a stat sheet. The two exchanged a melancholy high five as they briefly celebrated Lacy’s first double-double performance of the season: “Look coach, RIGHT HERE, I got my double-double!”

I am 6’8” (maybe 6’9” on a good day). Let me tell you something about one of the Dream players. Katie Feenstra, the Dream’s starting center, stands 6’8” and has the size and strength to box out anyone in the WNBA. It is not often I am able to look in the eyes of a woman without looking down ☺ For those of you who have never attended a WNBA game, it is quite amazing to see some of these women in action.

Former Sky guard and current ESPN analyst Stacey Dales was at the game tonight, pulling for her old team. This is the second time this season Dales has been to a game. And we keep our streak alive of having a celebrity at each of our first five home games!

I’ll be back at the scorer’s table next Friday night, as the Sky faces Eastern Conference rival Washington. Come on out to UIC Pavilion – tip is at 7:30.