It wasn’t pretty, but the short-handed Sky picked up their first road victory, beating the Fever 70-64 on Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Without first-round pick Katie Lou Samuelson (wrist), Jamierra Faulkner (knee) and Astou Ndour (overseas commitments), the Sky got off to a brutal start, going 0-for-10 from the field in the first four minutes.
Finally, guard Allie Quigley sank a mid-range jumper — her first of many — to kick-start the offense.
“We weren’t great offensively [at the start], but we were getting stops, and that kept us in the game,” coach James Wade said.
“I felt like it was going to be one of those types of games where it’s like, ‘OK, if we can take pride in our rebounding and take care of the ball, then we’ll be fine.’ ”
After scoring 10 points or fewer in the last three games, Quigley regained her rhythm. She had a team-high 18 points and went 4-for-6 from three-point range.
“Anyone who says [they] don’t care about personal statistics is lying,” Quigley said. “It feels good to get back to helping the team because I know that’s what I do — score and shoot the ball.”
Forward Cheyenne Parker had another strong game with 14 points and 10 rebounds, her second double-double of the season.
Diamond DeShields, who scored 20 or more points in three of the Sky’s last four games, had an off night, however. She drew double- and triple-teams and finished with seven points and shot 3-for-15 from the field.
Wade said he would’ve liked for DeShields to put more pressure on the defense and be more thoughtful with her shot selection. But games like this are part of the “learning process,” Wade said.
“Several times, she settled for shots that she probably could’ve moved or she could’ve attacked and drew because they were loading up on her,” Wade said. “We wanted her to drive and draw and kick, and then you’re going to get an open shot for someone else.”
The Sky (4-2) have come a long way since the Lynx blew them out in Minnesota in their season opener.
The team’s ballhandling and defensive intensity have improved markedly. Averaging the second-most turnovers in the league (16.8 per game), the Sky had a season-low nine against the Fever.
Still, there’s more work to be done.
“We’ve grown a lot, but we still have some growing to do,” Wade said. “We’re not satisfied with where we are, and we know where we have to be if we want to be considered a winning ballclub, so we’re just going to keep on chopping at it. We’ve started out pretty good, but we’re nowhere near where we want to be.”
NOTE: Center Stefanie Dolson, who had eight points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes, was wearing a brace on her right hand. James Wade said it’s a minor wrist injury, and she’s wearing the brace as a precaution.