Sky Looking to Solve Indiana
Chicago gets another shot at their arch-nemesis, the Indiana Fever, Wednesday. The Fever have handed the Sky their first two losses of the season and most recently ended Chicago’s six-game winning streak in Indiana.
Indiana’s Saturday 84-70 win over the Sky allowed the Fever to bounce back after losing two of their last three going in. Both teams have started the season hot with a combined record of 14-7, meaning Wednesday’s game will speak volumes for each team’s case for the title of “Beast of the East” currently held by Connecticut. That battle is epitomized by both team’s beasts in the frontcourt, the Sky’s Sylvia Fowles and the Fever’s Tamika Catchings.
Both players picked up hardware in 2011 as Catchings took MVP and Fowles locked up Defensive Player of the Year honors. Catchings has scored 34 points against the Sky this year adding to her overall total of 333 points all-time against Chicago, trailing only the Liberty’s Cappie Pondexter in that category. Not to be outdone, Fowles scored 47 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in both games combined and will lead her team in the effort to get the win.
The Sky are trying to break their first multi-game losing streak of the year as well, falling to 79-67 Minnesota in Saturday’s nationally televised bout.
Chicago will be without leading scorer Epiphanny Prince making the frontcourt matchup even more crucial. The Sky’s star shooting guard left the Indiana loss in the second quarter with a foot injury and spent the rest of the game in crutches after picking up seven points. Prince and Fowles’ dynamic attack has made all the difference in Chicago’s run to the top of the standings, and the Sky will be looking for another compliment to Fowles’ dominance in the paint to step up in Prince’s place.
That extra boost could come from guard Courtney Vandersloot and small forward Swin Cash who combined for 27 points after Prince left the game. In the Minnesota loss, rookie Sonja Petrovic was the Sky’s surprising second leading scorer picking up 13. Performances like that haven’t been enough to garner the team a win without Prince on the road, but Cash, Vandersloot and the rest of the roster can are hoping the home court advantage will work in their favor.
With every win, Chicago gains validation as a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference, and the Fever are a mountain that the Sky will likely have to climb if they want to make it to the playoffs. The time then for Chicago to get the proverbial monkey off its back and continue to keep it from climbing back on is sooner rather than later. With Fowles manning the middle and good support from the outside, the Sky are still deadly and will look to regain their winning ways.