Brianís Courtside Blog - September 14 vs. Houston
On the way to the arena this afternoon I had a strange feeling in my stomach. I couldnít tell if it was because the Skyís season is coming to an end today or if it is the nasty weather outside. I think the grey skies are very symbolic of how the season ended for the Sky. Things did not go as we all wanted this year as we missed the playoffs. However, the storms will go away and the sun will come out, exactly what I forecast for the Sky next year, lots of wins and a playoff birth. I know I keep telling you guysÖbut next year Head Coach Steven Key is going to have an arsenal of talent to choose from, and I truly believe 2009 is going to be the year the Sky breakout of their shell and cause chaos around the rest of the WNBA.
Early in the first quarter, the Cometsí Tina Thompson appeared to catch a finger to the eye on the defensive end. She paused under the hoop and played with her eye for a few moments and then walked down the court as the Comets went on an offensive possession. Just as it appeared she was going to take the possession off, she sprinted to the left block, posted up on Candice Dupree and converted a right handed scooping hook shot from the middle of the lane. That is experience and toughness for you. Thompson is one of the greats in WNBA history and showed why on that possession.
Cathy Joens came off the Sky bench and immediately made a huge contribution to the team in the first half. Joens, who is known as a three-point specialist around the league, knocked down 3 three-pointers in the first half! I was pleasantly surprised to see Joens play so well early on as she has not been receiving many minutes as of late.
The intensity level that both teams brought with them tonight was not one you would expect to see from two non-playoff teams! Itís great to see both teamsí passion for the game and their will to win. Neither team was able to pull away from one another all night, the lead actually changed hands 14 times in the first 20 minutes!
Do you remember my blog from this past Friday against the New York Liberty when I mentioned that Harvey Alter, one of the Sky owners, a few years ago grabbed a broomstick to knock the ball out from between the backboard and shot clock? Funny enough, he was back in action tonight! Apparently a screw from one of the backboards fell to the court during halftime and was not noticed by anyone until the second half was ready to tip-off. Harvey climbed to the top of ladder and went to work. Thanks to Harvey the bolt was secured back in place and the game could continue. To be totally honest with you, I donít know what we would do without Harvey, he is the man behind it all and it would be extremely difficult for us to put on a game at home without him.
At the beginning of the 3rd quarter Sky center Sylvia Fowles walked off the court during a dead ball after it appeared she caught an elbow to the face. I did not see exactly what happened, but did notice that Chicago Bulls forward Tyrus Thomas, a college friend of Fowlesí, was rather upset about what had taken place. Thomas stood on his feet and yelled at either a player or referee on the other side of the court where the apparent injury took place. As Fowles walked off the floor and into the locker room, Thomas angrily sat down and appeared visibly upset once again. What a terrible ending to the season for Fowles, she had been on such a roll since the Olympic break ended. To see her walk off the floor before the final buzzer sounded tonight is a real disappointment. I cannot wait to see her progress as a player and see what she brings to the court next season. She has the potential to be the most dominating player in the league.
Tonightís game was a summary of the Skyís season in a nutshell. They got off to a good start, took the lead and appeared to have things in hand. For a brief time in the second half the game got away from them, and they had to battle back to take the lead, which they were able to do tonight. Then down one point, Shannon Johnson nailed a three-pointer for the Comets as the shot clock expired with 12.6 seconds to go to put the game out of reach.
I canít tell you how many of the Skyís home losses came in heartbreaking fashion this season. This team is not far away from reaching the playoffs, and if a few balls bounced the other way this season, the Sky may have been able to earn their first ever playoff appearance in franchise history.
As I bid you all farewell until next season, I want to personally thank all of you for taking the time to read my blog after each home game. It was an exciting season with lots of memorable moments. Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for Sky news this off-season and stay up-to-date with the team by logging onto chicagosky.net.
Have a great off-season, we canít wait to see you in 2009!