The Chicago Sky came from behind to extract revenge on the Las Vegas Aces, 88-86, in their season opener Sunday.
Kahleah Copper, who started in place of All-Star Diamond DeShields, led the way for Chicago with 18 points, while Gabby Williams added 14. DeShields played for only 15 minutes, due to a few nagging injuries.
Last September Las Vegas dispatched the Sky from the playoffs on a half-court heave by Dearica Hamby in the game’s final seconds. For more than two quarters of their first game of 2020, the Aces looked like they’d run away with it again, leading by as much as 12 points to open the third quarter.
Hamby made a layup with 4:29 left to put her team up, 86-77. But Chicago came alive and went on an 11-0 run, capped by an Allie Quigley three-point shot with 14.7 seconds to go. Las Vegas couldn’t answer, and their opponents held on to win.
Quigley hit the unlikely shot, from the left corner, after struggling throughout the match up on 25 percent shooting. She said the play was something the team had worked on in practice.
“We were really familiar with the look we wanted. That’s exactly what we wanted in the corner,” she said. “(Guard) Jackie Young got through the screen pretty well, so I had to do a little shot fake and luckily it went in, and there were still 14 seconds on the clock.”
The Sky didn’t play their best basketball for stretches of time, and struggled to limit Aces forwards Angel McCoughtry and A’ja Wilson, who scored 25 and 22 points, respectively, on 57.3 percent shooting. Las Vegas also out-rebounded their opponents, 42-33.
Chicago coach James Wade said his squad has many things to work on.
“We saw where we were weak. I think we fouled a little too much,” he said. “We were just undisciplined in schemes. It’s a lot of stuff that we have to do. It’s good to get a win but we have a lot of holes to plug. We have to fix a lot of things so I’m happy with the win, but I’m not happy with how we got there.”
Quigley said she had mixed emotions in the win.
“(I’m) just relieved because I was having a pretty crappy game, but just happy that we were able to get this win,” she said. “It was an ugly game. We definitely did not play our best, so to be able to steal that one at the last couple minutes was huge.”
Wade doesn’t see beating the Aces as revenge for last year’s heartbreaking loss.
“The pain from last year’s playoff loss is going to still be there, so this doesn’t do anything for me,” he said. “I’m happy we won. That says something that’s indescribable. Like how it feels, and how it’s just inside you. So, I mean it’s good to get this win. And it’s good to beat the team but I wouldn’t have cared who played tonight – I just wanted to win.”
The Sky get Monday off before taking on the Los Angeles Sparks Tuesday night.