Sky Take Off In OT
The Sky came into tonight’s game on a high after defeating Eastern Conference heavyweight Indiana Fever last night, 68-65. The Silver Stars represented another challenge, coming into Chicago with the best record in the West, and riding a six-game winning streak.
Jia Perkins picked up right were she left off last night against the Fever, scoring 8 of her game high 27 points in the first quarter to help the Sky to an early 18-15 lead. Perkins scored 14 of the Sky’s final 18 points last night against Indiana.
Stephanie Raymond provided a spark off the bench early on for the Sky, with a three-pointer to tie the game at 15-15. She also had a great dribble drive down the middle of the lane with a kick out pass to Perkins, who hit one of her two three-pointers in the quarter.
The lead changed four times during the second quarter as the teams battled back and forth. Rookie Armintie Price helped carry the Sky in the second frame, scoring 8 of her 12 points.
Price put the Sky up 5 at 36-31 with 9.7 seconds to go in the half on a fantastic fast-break lay-in over a Silver Star defender. Silver Stars guard Becky Hammon came right back down the court and nailed a deep three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to end the first half of play and put the score at 36-34 in favor of the Sky.
Early in the third quarter, the Sky took an 8-point lead and it looked like they were taking command of the game. San Antonio called timeout and immediately fought their way back into the game going on an 8-0 run to tie the game up at 44-44, including back-to-back three pointers by Hammon.
The Sky called timeout with 52.5 seconds left in the third quarter when Carla Thomas suffered a right ankle sprain. She did not return to the game. With time running out in the third, Perkins drained a 13’ fade-away jumper as the buzzer sounded to give the Sky a 2-point lead heading into the final quarter.
Perkins stepped up again for the Sky in the fourth, connecting on a three-pointer to give the Sky a 63-58 advantage. Perkins shot 5 of 9 from behind the three-point arc on the evening.
"I thought Jia had a great second half,” said Sky Head Coach Bo Overton. “We kept going and kept going and had a couple of big stops at the end. Our players really don't give up.”
San Antonio fought back to take the lead midway through the fourth when Camille Little scored on a great assist from Hammon, a one handed pass around a Sky defender.
All-Star Candice Dupree, who struggled from the floor all evening long, made good on a scooping left-handed shot to tie the game up at 67-67. Dupree scored 6 points on 2 of 9 shooting.
"Candice made big plays when we needed her,” said Overton. “It was tough on her because she's so worn out, but I thought she really gave us all she had tonight and I'm really proud of her."
The Sky led by 2 points with just 21.3 seconds to go in regulation as Vickie Johnson missed a running one handed bank off the glass, the ball was tipped around and fell into the hands of Hammon who was fouled as she put the ball back up in the air. Hammon went to the line and made good on a pair of free throws to tie the game up with 8.6 seconds left.
Stacey Dales’ inbounds pass to Perkins fell out of bounds, and the Silver Stars had the ball back with a chance to win the ball game. Young forced up a tough jump shot from the free throw line that missed and the game went into overtime.
The Silver Stars’ Johnson got the opening tip in overtime and drove straight to the bucket for a lay-in to put her team up by a deuce. The Sky came right back down the floor and Dales nailed a three from the left wing. Dales scored 6 points on the night.
The lead changed four times in overtime. Hammon tied the game up with a pair of free throws at 82-82 with 1:03 to go in the game.
Perkins saved the day for the Sky as she drove the lane and kicked the ball to the right corner to a wide open Dominique Canty, who rattled home a 19’ jumper to give the Sky the lead for good with 6.1 seconds to go.
San Antonio had one last chance to tie the game up. Hammon drove the lane and missed a pull up jumper from the free throw line. The ball was tipped back up towards the rim but fell short.
"We just needed a win to get our feet back under us,” said Perkins, referring to the win against the Fever the night before. “Once you start winning, that positive energy carries over to the next game."
With the win, the Sky completed a season sweep of the Silver Stars. San Antonio Head Coach Dan Hughes said. “I’m surprised they have 13 loses. The team we’ve seen plays really good. This team shouldn’t have 13 loses.”
The Sky will take their two-game winning streak on the road this Thursday when they travel to Detroit to take on the Eastern-Conference leading Shock at 6:30pm.