Sky Stopped By Shock

The Sky jumped out to a quick 11-3 lead in the first quarter behind Candice Dupree’s 8 points; but that was as good as it got for the Sky, as they fell to the Detroit Shock for the second straight game, 78-65.

The Shock battled their way back, ending the first quarter down by only 5, led by Plenette Pierson’s 8 points off the bench. Pierson scored 16 on the night.

The teams exchanged the lead three times in the second quarter. Stacey Dales connected on a deep three pointer to give the Sky a 33-32 advantage late in the second. But the Shock went on an 8-2 run to end the half, outscoring the Sky 25-17 on a torrid 11-of-14 form the field to earn a 40-37 half-time lead. Deanna Nolan scored 9 of her game-high 18 points in the second.

The Sky struggled from the field for most of the third quarter, only making good on 4 of 15 shots. Dupree only scored 2 in the third. The Shock outscored the Sky by 9 in the quarter and the Sky trailed by 12 heading into the fourth.

The big difference was on the boards – the Shock out-rebounded the Sky 45-26. One bright spot for the Sky was in the turnover column – they forced 16 Shock turnovers and converted for 15 points, while only giving up the ball 6 times.

“It’s the whole game,” said Sky Head Coach Bo Overton. “To compete in this league, you have to be able to get the boards. I thought Detroit did a great job of that tonight.”

Tonight marked that last game both teams will play before this Sunday’s WNBA All-Star game in Washington D.C. Dupree, who is a reserve on the Eastern Conference All-Star Team, scored 16 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.

“Overall we had pretty good shots,” said Dupree. “Detroit played good defense and took us down to the last couple seconds in every shot clock, so we had to throw up junk quite a few times, which really hurt us.”

Jia Perkins led the Sky in scoring with 17 points off the bench in only 23 minutes of play. Perkins finished the game 6 of 11 from the floor and also dished out 5 assists. Dominique Canty had four assists in the first quarter, putting her at 600 assists in her career; she is the 14th WNBA player to reach the milestone. She also hit her 600th free throw in the first quarter.

Detroit will send 3 players to this weekend’s All-Star game: Cheryl Ford, Kara Braxton and Nolan, all of whom will start. Ford added 11 points and 9 rebounds.

The Sky head into the All-Star break on a four-game losing streak and a half game out of the final play-off spot in the Eastern Conference.

“There is a lot of pressure,” said Perkins. “We’re competing with Connecticut and Washington for that fourth playoff spot. We need to win desperately. We need to recoup over the All-Star break, get our legs back and come out fighting all over again.”

Be sure to watch the WNBA All-Star game this Sunday, July, 15 at 2:30 pm CDT, live on ABC. The Sky will next take to the court Wednesday, July 18 at 12 noon CDT at Indiana. The game will be broadcast on WVON 1690AM.