The Chicago Sky defeated the Indiana Fever 74-71 in their 2014 season-opener on May 16 at All-state Arena.
Forward Tamera Young scored Chicago’s first bucket in just 30 seconds of the game. But after trading baskets, the Fever built a 14-4 lead as Chicago ended the quarter with six turnovers. In result, the Sky trailed the first half by 18 points.
Chicago Sky Head Coach Pokey Chatman said she wasn’t expecting a slow start but noticed that every player wasn’t focus on the game.
“I was irritated,” Chatman said. “The game wasn’t going our way because even when we scored it seemed as if they were in fifth gear while we were in fourth.”[pullquote]Chicago Sky
Despite the Sky’s slow-start, they regained the lead in the second half as they allowed the Fever to convert only 37 percent from the field.
In addition, the Sky made 22-out-of-26 free-throws (84.6 percent) while Indiana struggled making 13-out-of-18 free-throws (72.2 percent).
“We played well in the first half but was 50/50 in the second,” said Indiana Fever Guard Shavonte Zellous.
In result, Chicago went on an 8-0 run to take a 65-63 lead in the fourth quarter.
“Attacking the paint was the difference,” Chatman said. “The fact that we kept being physical and attacking the basket brought more positivity to the team.”
Chatman explained how she challenged the team to make Indiana play against defensive schemes that they practiced all week. She said there were times when all five players weren’t tuned into the game but everything shifted when they managed to get their fifth person involved.
“I thought Rookie Guard Jamierra Faulkner changed the rhythm of the game on the defensive end which carried through the rest of the game,” said Chatman.
As the game went on, the Sky and Fever traded basket-for-basket late in the fourth quarter. With 30 seconds remaining, the game fell into Chicago’s lap after Indiana Forward Erlana Larkins received a technical foul, which gave the Sky a one-point lead.
With 11 seconds left, the Fever fouled Sky Center Sasha Goodlet. In result, Goodlett converted on both free-throws, winning the game for the Sky 74-71.
“We had the lead,” Indiana Fever Head Coach Lin Dunn said. “But the momentum swung when Larkins was given a technical foul. We had a chance to win but we shot ourselves down the stretch.”
Final Score: Sky 74, Fever 71
Chicago Sky Forward Elena Delle Donne led the team with 23 points and 5 rebounds. Also, Forward Jessica Breland scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
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