Brian’s Courtside Blog - May 8, vs. Los Angeles

Hey Sky fans, Brian here, coming to you live from the Sears Centre Arena out in Hoffmann Estates. The court, jerseys and players are the same, but the arena was new – and amazing. From the moment I pulled off the highway and saw the Sears Centre Arena, I was very excited for tonight’s pre-season finale.

For the first time since last season my favorite Sky player, Jia Perkins, took the floor in my presence (I know…it’s a big deal). It’s great to see her back wearing Sky blue.

On the Sky’s second offensive possession, Brooke Wyckoff showed everyone in the building that the WNBA may be a women’s game, but is played as hard as the men’s. Brooke set a screen that I could hear as Temeka Johnson ran into her. These are my favorite types of plays, physical, but totally legal. It’s nice to see such hard-nosed play in the pre-season.

At the end of the first half, the Sparks’ Lisa Leslie continued the evening’s physical play as she nailed Chasity Melvin square across the face with an elbow. The first thing that came to mind when Chas hit the floor was last season’s incident when she injured her eye. YIKES!

The first five minutes had something I have never seen happen at any other basketball game I have ever been to in person. One of the lights from the rafters was shining straight down on the backboard that the Sky was shooting at, reflecting a terrible shine off the glass. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to shoot at a goal with a bright light shining in your eyes. Perhaps that’s why the Sky only made good on 4 of 17 from the floor in the first quarter...

“Big Syl” still seems to have a small case of the rookie jitters. She is very impressive to watch and dominates the boards, but her shot still has yet to go down on a consistent basis. I feel that once Sylvia becomes comfortable within Coach Key’s offense, she is going to flourish and become one of the WNBA’s most dominant post players for years to come.

I think the hardest working fan of the night was a little girl sitting in the first row straight across from me. Every time the Sky scored a bucket, she would jump out of her chair with a giant smile on her face, clap and jump up and down until her dad would pull her back into her seat. If a foul was called on the Sky or something went wrong for the team, her face looked like someone just stole her teddy away from her.

Towards the end of the game during a time-out, Leslie took Tye’sha Fluker away from the team huddle and was very adamant about her performance on the floor. I couldn’t hear what she was telling her but she repeatedly hit her hands together and was clearly trying to teach Fluker about something she could do better on the court.

In the end, the Sky lost for the first time this pre-season. The shots weren’t falling, and the Sparks’ physicality had us back on our heels a little bit in the first quarter. The rookies and training camp invites had lots of time on the court to show their stuff. Final roster cuts happen at the end of next week. And the next time the Sky takes to the court will be for real, when they tip the regular season off out in Seattle on May 17, at 9pm. My colleague Ronnie, the Sky’s PR manager, will be blogging from the road with the team, and I’ll be back with you on Thursday, May 22 for the home opener against the Sacramento Monarchs.