Sky Fall To Storm

In a matchup between a WNBA legend and one of the league’s brightest young stars, the Sky suffer their first home loss of the season, going down to a young, defensively sound Seattle Storm team 69-60 at Allstate Arena. The Sky move to 7-4 on the season and will most likely remain in the number two spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Sky had one of their poorest shooting performances of the season, shooting just under 30 percent from the field and going 4-for-22 from behind the arc. Swin Cash grabbed 14 boards and the Sky out-rebounded Seattle 41-36, but it wasn’t enough to compensate shots that just wouldn’t fall.

It was a tough night for the WNBA’s Rookie of the Month for June, as Elena Delle Donne (19.1 ppg) faced double and triple teams for most of the game. On a night where her numbers fell below average, Delle Donne still managed to record a double-double, finishing with 12 points, 12 rebounds and going 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Guard Epiphanny Prince also scored 12 points to lead the Sky.

Seattle guard Tina Thompson, the league’s only remaining charter member still playing, finished with a double-double of her own (10 points, 11 rebounds). The 17-season veteran announced the 2013 campaign will be her last, marking the star’s final trip to Allstate Arena.

Tonight Thompson and the Storm shot 36 percent from both the field and three-point range, and forced the Sky to commit 12 turnovers. Guard Tameka Johnson and center Camille Little each had 16 points.

The Sky looked good early and got a smooth passing game going in the first quarter including a difficult pass from Delle Donne through a trap to forward Swin Cash wide open underneath the basket. Later, center Carolyn Swords sent a stylish look to Courtney Vandersloot (8 points, 3 assists) under the basket for two points. Swords, who replaced the injured Sylvia Fowles in the starting lineup, had a strong first quarter (5 points, 1 block, 1 assist) and finished with 7 points and 4 rebounds.

But the Storm raged in the second quarter, taking advantage of a poor shooting quarter for the Sky (33 percent, 0-for-4 on three-point attempts) and outscoring the home team 27-10. A made free throw from guard Tanisha Wright gave Seattle their first lead since early in the first quarter, and guard Shekinna Strickland scored on the next possession to put Seattle up 34-31 at the half.

As soon as the Sky looked like they were about to make a move, the Storm would strike. A big three-pointer from Sky guard Epiphanny Prince cut the deficit to 1 point in the third quarter, but a steal and breakaway layup from Johnson stopped a Chicago possible run. Similarly, after Delle Donne and Prince hit four consecutive free throws, Strickland nailed a three-point shot. Another three-point shot from forward Alysha Clark extended the Storm lead 52-45.

The Sky started the fourth quarter down 9 points, but Seattle made it rain with big three-point shots from Strickland and Thompson. Delle Donne’s missed back-to-back attempts under the basket halfway through the fourth quarter seemed to signify the impending loss for the Sky.

The Sky (7-4) travel to New York to take on the Liberty (5-4) on Sunday at 2:00 pm CST. The game is scheduled to air on WNBA LiveAccess and local station WCIU. The Sky return to Allstate Arena next Wednesday, July 10 against the Washington Mystics (5-6) at 11:30 a.m.