‘Keeping the faith’ pays off for Sky’s Allie Quigley
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media September 4, 2014 10:11PM
sky vs. Mercury
Best of 5; *if necessary
Sky to play its home games
at UIC Pavillion
Game 1: 2:30 p.m. Sunday
at Mercury, Ch. 7
Game 2: 8 p.m. Tuesday
at Mercury, ESPN
Game 3: 7 p.m. Friday at Sky, ESPN2
*Game 4: 4:30 p.m. Sept. 14
at Sky, ESPN2
*Game 5: 8 p.m. Sept. 17 at Mercury, ESPN2
Updated: September 5, 2014 2:22AM
The Sky had a happy ride home from Indianapolis late Wednesday night. They had just beaten the Indiana Fever to win their first Eastern Conference title and were relishing that accomplishment.
For Allie Quigley, it was particularly joyful, coming after a 24-point performance that led all scorers and helped the Sky overcome the absence of Elena Delle Donne for most of the second half. The performance was a high point in a career for the DePaul grad that has taken her to five teams, but in 2014 has blossomed, resulting in a Sixth Woman of the Year award and a trip to the WNBA Finals.
On that bus ride, Quigley said she got some time to reflect on her career path.
“Just staying positive and keeping the faith that it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen,” Quigley said. “I had a lot of family members and [DePaul coach Doug Bruno] and other coaches believing in me. [They told] me along the way that just stick with it you’re going to get your shot.”
After graduating in 2008 from DePaul with 2,078 career points the Joliet native was drafted by the Seattle Storm, but didn’t stick. Stints in Phoenix, San Antonio and Indiana preceded another short stay in Seattle. She didn’t play in the WNBA in 2012 before joining the Sky last year, when she was a bit player but put up then-career highs of 3.8 points and 9.4 minutes per game.
Her fortunes took another turn this season, bringing Bruno even more pride in his former player.
“It’s just been a joy to watch her persevere over the last two years,” said Bruno, who frequently sits courtside at Sky home games.
“It’s not been an overnight journey, but she’s one of those athletes that’s really, really talented. Her perseverance shows you that you can’t give up.”
With Delle Donne, Sylvia Fowles and Epiphanny Prince missing significant time during the regular season, the Sky needed to get more from some of their complementary players. Quigley was one of them, averaging 11.2 points in 24.8 minutes and getting 26 of 38 votes in Sixth Woman of the Year balloting.
She was one of four Sky players to appear in all 34 games, further cementing the important role with a WNBA team she craved.
“It feels awesome just to know that all these ups and downs over the years and hard work has paid off. Just to finally be able to truly feel a part of it,” Quigley said. “I’ve been on teams where I’ve been the 11th, 12th player and we’ve had some success. But it’s different when you’re actually contributing and a part of it. It feels really good to just finally be here.”
It’s hard to say where the Sky would be without her, but with her they’re three victories away from a WNBA title. It’s also a reward for Quigley, who’s enjoyed a solid career in Europe, but hadn’t been able to make a mark stateside until the last two seasons.
“It’s not a surprise,” Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. “I’m just happy that she’s done it on the stage where everyone can witness it.”