Brian’s Courtside Blog - September 12 vs. New York

Hey Sky fans, Brian here coming to you from the scorers table. Tonight the Sky welcomes the New York Liberty to town for the first time this season. With only one game remaining after tonight the Sky are looking to build up a wave of momentum that will carry them into the off-season and get them ready for 2009!

The Sky’s first basket of the night was scored by Sylvia Fowles from down on the left block. When she caught the ball, she immediately put the ball on the floor and made a very strong spin move to lay the ball in over 6’5” Jessica Davenport.

My first impression of Davenport was WOW! She is huge! I wear a size 17 shoe and from the looks of it, Davenport wears something close to it!

In the middle of the first half, Dominque Canty was able to penetrate into the lane and draw a group of Liberty defenders, who happened to leave Fowles wide open under the basket. Canty found Fowles for the easy two points. As both teams went down the floor, Liberty Head Coach Pat Coyle threw her hands in the air and shook her head. “Come on guys! How can you loose her,” she shouted at her team in regards to Fowles.

One of the most captivating things about a WNBA game is the excitement the crowd brings. Tonight the UIC Pavilion was packed full of Sky fans who were all banging their thunder sticks together, creating an atmosphere that was incredibly fun, but more importantly motivating for the players on the court. There is nothing like a crowd that truly backs their team. A big pat on the back goes out to all of you who attended tonight’s game, we can’t wait to have you back and look forward to welcoming the rest of you!

Something funny happened with 7:24 to go in the ball game that you don’t see very often. Jia Perkins went up for a jump shot that caught the back of the rim and went straight up in the air. Instead of coming back down, the ball wedged itself between the backboard and the shot clock. I immediately glanced over towards Harvey Alter, one of the Sky’s owners, who when this happened a few years ago rushed down to the floor and grabbed a broom stick and knocked the ball out. Harvey had a big smile on his face as he waved his hand towards the court and said, “I’m not doing that again!”

During our famous cha-cha slide timeout in the 4th quarter, a little boy who was on the court dancing caught my attention. He couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 years old but he was determined to dance the night away…the only problem was he didn’t know what to do! He had the cutest smile on his face as he glared over (and up) at the boy dancing next to him, mimicking his every move…just a bit late. When everyone would take “one hop,” he wouldn’t do it until everyone finished and was on to the next move. He never could quite catch up, but I am pretty sure the few minutes he was on the court made his night.

Towards the end of the 4th quarter, Armintie Price was closely guarding Erin Thron away from the ball. Loree Moore threw Thron a long cross-court pass that Armintie couldn’t quite intercept. As Thorn caught the ball right in front of me, Armintie said, “OHHH, I’m gonna get that one next time.”

With just over a minute to go in the game, Jia Perkins drove the lane and was hammered on the back of head. No foul was called and Sky Head Coach Steven Key was irate that the whistle was not blown. Perkins was hit so hard on the head that her head band went flying off. Jia immediately went up to one of the referees and firmly told them, “She knocked my head off, you know that right?” On the next possession, Perkins stole the ball and went down on a fast break, trailed from behind by the Liberty’s Shameka Christon. Christon fouled Perkins rather hard down to the ground as she went up for a lay-up. As Perkins got up and walked toward the free throw line she had a smile on her face. You could tell she wanted to tell all three referees it’s about time!

The nail in the coffin came after a pair of missed Ashley Battle free throws. The ball was tipped out to Christon who knocked down a deep three with 23.2 seconds to go in the game to give NY lead 65-62. The Liberty won the game 69-62.

As Coach Steven Key shook the hand of Coach Coyle as the final buzzer sounded, he wished her good luck in the playoffs and patted her on the back.

After the game ended a song with the lyrics, “I’ve seen better days,” was played in the arena. As one of the Sky staff members passed by me at the scorers table, he stopped and told me he hates to hear this song. Well Sky fans, heading into 2009, better days are ahead. With the talent that is piling up for Coach Key and another lottery draft pick awaiting the Sky, there is no doubt the team is going to compete for a Eastern Conference playoff spot next season…and who knows what happens after when they get in!

Don’t miss our final home game of the season this Sunday at 3pm against the Houston Comets. There will be a very special party for all of you after the game that you will not want to miss. I don’t want to ruin it for you, but all of our players cannot wait to meet you all.