Sky headed to WNBA Finals with 75-62 win over Fever
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media September 3, 2014 8:10PM
Updated: September 3, 2014 10:15PM
INDIANAPOLIS — As the Sky went through challenge after challenge and injury after injury, they insisted that everything would help them in the end. During their struggles to stay in playoff contention, it was easy to dismiss the claims about building toughness and resiliency as hollow words that wouldn’t mean much after a lost season.
It turns out those words had true meaning, and the Sky proved it with their 75-62 win over the Indiana Fever on Wednesday that clinched their first Eastern Conference title.
“I think it’s one thing where you talk about something and it’s one thing when you actually do it,” forward Tamera Young said.
The Sky will face Phoenix in the best-of-five WNBA Finals starting Sunday in Phoenix.
The matchup with Phoenix — which had the WNBA’s best record at 29-5 — is a challenge the Sky are already relishing.
“It’s been a long time coming,” center Sylvia Fowles said. “I’m just so proud of our group of young ladies and our organization just for having faith in us and making us, work us and push us and bring us this far. You really can’t complain.”
As usual, the Sky had to overcome a few challenges.
The Sky had to take a second consecutive game against the Fever for the first time in franchise history and win in Indiana for just the third time. Then early in the game it became apparent that Elena Delle Donne was still struggling with her lower back.
That didn’t stop the Sky, who got 24 points off the bench from Allie Quigley and 17 from Fowles while holding Indiana to 34.4 percent shooting from the floor.
“We need something, someone steps up,” said Delle Donne, who played only 20:55 and scored four points. “It’s just amazing to see that in this group and how resilient they are.”
Other than Delle Donne’s back and the history with Indiana, the Sky actually didn’t face much adversity during the game. Their biggest deficit was one point and they stretched their lead to as much as 14, the largest in Sky playoff history.
It was also a welcome departure from their first three playoff wins when they were forced to rally from double-digit deficits.
“We’ve been on the other end so many times,” Quigley said. “So, so many times in the huddle we would say we know what it’s like to be down, we know people can come back so I think that’s helped us on both ends.”