Brian’s Courtside Blog - May 29, vs. Minnesota

Hey Sky fans, Brian here, from the scorer’s table. Tonight the Minnesota Lynx, lead by Seimone Augustus, rolled into town to square off against our beloved Sky. The Lynx were tied for the league’s worst record last season, but came to Chicago this season with a perfect 2-0 record, including a 14 point win over Eastern Conference powerhouse Detroit.

I was really looking forward to the Sky’s stifling defense getting a true test as the Lynx are averaging over 90 points per game, ranking them first in the league in points per game. The Sky has been allowing just over 70 points per game. Something had to give…right?

The first thing I noticed tonight once the game started was how loud the UIC Pavilion can be. Besides all the screaming fans who were amped up to cheer the Sky on to their second straight win at home, the sound system was pumped up tonight -- those “DE-FENSE” chants really could be heard…and felt!

Once the ball was tossed into the air, both head coaches, Steven Key of the Sky and Don Zierden of the Lynx, refused to let their teams back down and lose any of their intensity. Things were so intense (and loud) from the start that my buddy at the scorer’s table, Demetris, repeatedly yelled in my ear about how physical the game was, something both of us enjoy watching when it’s clean.

Early on in the third quarter, Dominique Canty caught a forearm to the face from Lynx guard Anna DeForge at mid-court. As she passed where I sit, she flung her arms in the air as she made eye contact with the ref and yelled “Oh, come on now…that’s a foul now…COME ON!”

If you are not coming out to our games, it’s the place to be...trust me! Just ask Bulls forward Tyrus Thomas who was in the house tonight, cheering on fellow LSU alum Sylvia Fowles, Quianna Chaney and Augustus of the Lynx. If you read my blog from opening night you know that Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and New York Knicks guard Quentin Richardson came last week. You never know who may show up next!

At the very end of the 3rd quarter, Jia Perkins appeared to injure her leg. She fell to the floor and Coach Key sent in a sub. As soon as her replacement came to the scorers table, Perkins got up and hopped to the bench. Brooke Wyckoff appeared very concerned for Perkins but when she got to the bench they exchanged smiles – I found out later that she had leg cramps.

Another funny exchange I was privileged to hear was at the beginning of the 4th quarter. The shot clock above the Sky’s basket stopped working and play came to a halt. As the referees and head coaches met at the scorers table to discuss what would be done, Zierden said to Key, with a grin on his face, “It’s too bad ours is the only one working.”

It was a disappointing result – seemed like the team lost focus in the second half. It must have been hard to have a week between games. We’ve got the Sun coming on Sunday, first Eastern Conference game – hopefully we’ll look like the team that took the floor against Sacramento.

A well-deserved shout out goes to the “Give Girls Game” group of over 800 girls who attended tonight’s game. These girls had by far and away the most fun in the arena. The entire game they were on their feet, waving their thunder sticks in the air and cheering on the team as hard as verbally and physically possible.