You could look at last night’s Dallas Wings loss to the Chicago Sky as a game they should have won, leading by four points with 75 seconds to go. But if you had made your evaluation at halftime, with the home team down by 19 after having trailed by as many as 24, you might have suggested they had no chance to win at all.
In the first half, Chicago shot almost 62% from the floor and the Wings shot barely 30%. But in the third quarter, something changed. From where I sat, we saw Chicago finally miss a shot or two, but it wasn’t what the Sky did that led a furious, game-tying, 36-17 third quarter. It was all-out effort from all five players on the floor. What made it so remarkable was that Head Coach Fred Williams played only his starters – Allisha Gray, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Liz Cambage, Kayla Thornton, and Glory Johnson – the entire quarter and he had them extending the defense. They pressed and they played physically. They had three steals, two blocked shots, and out-rebounded the Sky 16-5 for the period. Every Wing hit the floor at least once. And they somehow kept up their intensity through the fourth as well. Azurá Stevens relieved Johnson for three minutes and nobody else came out.
Some calls went their way, others, including a curious replay change that resulted in a hitherto uncalled foul being assessed to Cambage, did not. They fought through it all. and in the end fell a single point short.
After the game, Williams was emotionally drained. He knew his team and his staff had given everything they had and fallen short. His team still stands to secure a playoff spot, and could easily move up as high as even the second seed. They’ll also have to hold off the hard-charging Las Vegas Aces. In this video interview, Williams discusses some of the things he saw Tuesday that he hopes will help them succeed in their hopeful run to the postseason.
Disclosure: I have done video production for the Wings for the last two seasons.