Sky falls on Storm in final quarter

  • By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
  • Thursday, August 15, 2013 10:30pm
  • SportsSports

SEATTLE — Going into the fourth quarter of Thursday night’s game the Seattle Storm appeared well on their way to a home victory over the Chicago Sky.

About half an hour later, they were lamenting one of the worst collapses in franchise history.

Chicago outscored the Storm 32-6 in the final stanza — shooting 12-for-15 from the floor in the process — to turn a 13-point deficit into a 79-66 WNBA victory.

“I think we are a team that gets our confidence from our defense,” Storm head coach Brian Agler said. “For the first three quarters, we controlled the game and we got stops. In the fourth quarter, it was the complete opposite. We didn’t get stops. They got to the free-throw line. They hit shots on us and got a couple of second shots. And then as passive as we seemed to be defensively, we got just as passive on offense.”

The Storm, who had led since midway through the first quarter, made just three of their 12 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter and turned the ball over seven times. Chicago scored seven of the first nine points of the period to cut the Storm’s lead to eight. That got the attention of Agler, who promptly called a timeout.

If the goal of the timeout was to stop momentum, it didn’t work. Chicago continued to chip away at the lead behind former Storm guard Allie Quigley and guard Epiphanny Prince.

Prince shot just 1-for-7 in the first three quarters, but was 5-for-6 in the fourth quarter as she helped swing the momentum. Quigley’s 3-pointer with 4:18 to play gave Chicago its first lead since the first quarter and Sylvia Fowles driving lay up with 3:50 to play capped off a 17-0 Sky run.

“We are a team that can never take a breather or relax or think that we have anything made,” Agler said. “We have to be a team that no matter what the circumstances, we stay completely focused.”

Former Storm forward Swin Cash led the Sky with 18 points, but it was Prince, who finished with 16, who led Chicago in the game’s final minutes.

“(Epiphanny) is an all-star in this league,” Storm guard Tanisha Wright said. “If anybody can step up to the challenge when their team is down, she is capable of doing that. She did a good job of doing that in the fourth quarter when they really needed her, she came through.”

The Storm (10-13) looked as though they were well on their way to getting to within one game of .500 with two games remaining in their five-game homestand. Instead, it’s the Sky who strengthened their hold on first place in the Eastern Conference — and they did it without rookie forward Elena Delle Donne. The team’s leading scorer didn’t play because of a foot injury.

“This is a frustrating one because it’s getting close to the end (of the season),” Wright said. “These games you’ve got to win. We were up 13 going into the fourth quarter, and to be able to only score six points, but give up as much as we did, too, it’s not good. It’s not good basketball.”

Wright led all scorers with 20 points, but was held scoreless in the final quarter, as was forward Shekinna Stricklen, who finished with 16.

Quigley matcher her career-high with 14 points, scoring seven in the fourth, including the go-ahead 3-pointer.

“She played well,” Agler said. “That was huge for them because they were missing Delle Donne, so they needed one more person to step up.”

After watching his team lead by as many as 16 points and then collapse, Agler seemed eager to learn from the defeat rather than being upset with his players.

“I’m not upset with them,” Agler said. “Why should I be upset? We’ve got a long season and we stay on an even keel. We are going to talk about it and we are going to learn from it and we will learn from our mistakes, but I’m not going to be upset with them.”

Aaron Lommers covers the Seattle Storm for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at alommers@heraldnet.com.

More in Sports

Seahawks lose 33-27 as defense wilts in the Tennessee heat

The Titans score 21 points in the third quarter against a gassed Seahawk defense

Much discussion went into ‘revolutionary’ pregame protest

The Seahawks stay in their locker room for the playing of the national anthem

Sherman and the Seahawks’ defense both melt down

Seattle’s standout cornerback is hit with three penalties on the same play

Mariners officially eliminated from the AL wild-card race

A 4-2 loss to the Indians assures Seattle will miss the playoffs for the 16th straight season

Silvertips bounce back, beat the Tri-City Americans 4-1

Tips give new head coach Dennis Williams his first WHL win a day after dropping their season opener

Grading the Seahawks’ 33-27 loss to the Tennessee Titans

Seattle’s offense and defense each played well … for a half.

REFLECTIONS: Luding, Silvertips respond in a big way

The Game Chalk this one up as a major confidence booster for… Continue reading

After slow start, Huskies roll past Colorado 37-10

Myles Gaskin rushes for 202 yards and two touchdowns as No. 7 Washington wins its Pac-12 opener.

Silvertips fall to Winterhawks 7-4 in season opener

U.S. Division-favorite Portland scores six goals in the second period to sink Everett.

Most Read