Sky guard Allie Quigley to NBA HORSE Challenge opponents: ‘Which one of you guys is coming in second?’
Sky guard Allie Quigley channeled Larry Bird when addressing her fellow NBA HORSE Challenge participants.
Sky guard Allie Quigley isn’t a stranger to shooting competitions. The three-time All-Star won back-to-back WNBA three-point contests and even set an NBA and WNBA record with 29 points in 2018.
Quigley has evolved into one of the best shooters in the WNBA over the last five years, and her skills will be on display during the NBA HORSE Challenge next week.
Looking at the eight-person field, which also includes Bulls guard Zach LaVine, Hawks guard Trae Young, former NBA players-turned-ESPN analysts Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billups, Thunder guard Chris Paul, Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr. and 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Tamika Catchings, Quigley feels pretty good about her chances.
And she had one message for her fellow competitors.
“I can go with the famous Larry Bird quote,” Quigley told the Chicago Sun-Times in a phone interview. “Which one of you guys is coming in second?”
Quigley, a Joliet native, has been training for a professional HORSE competition for years. Growing up, she would play the game with her siblings in the driveway. Occasionally, her parents would join in the fun, too.
“I always won,” Quigley said.
For the NBA HORSE Challenge, which will have a single-elimination format, players must call their shots before the attempt, and dunking isn’t allowed (sorry, Zach). The winner receives exclusive bragging rights. Money from the $200,000 prize pool will go to charities helping with the coronavirus response.
Quigley, who has shot 43.1 percent from three-point range the last three seasons, is set to go against Paul in the quarterfinals, which will be pre-taped and air Sunday on ESPN.
“I’m feeling good,” Quigley said. “I know he’s a great shooter. He’s a 10-time All-Star . . . he’s such a good player, an Olympian. I mean, it’s Chris Paul.
“It’s kind of cool to play against him. I’ve never met him. . . . It’s for charity, so in the end, it’s just for fun. And I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
And if her performance is anything like she’s been displaying on Twitter, she could give Paul and other shooters a run for their money. Hook shots, behind the backboard attempts and shooting from her patio are just some options in her bag of tricks. She also shot while sitting sittingcross-legged on the floor.
“I have some in mind but I’m going to try to do a combination of both — just some basics shots to get the letters on the board and then when I’m feeling good I’ll put some trick shots in there,” Quigley said.
The winner of the Quigley-Paul duel will play the winner of the LaVine-Pierce matchup. The semifinals and finals will take place Thursday.
One possible disadvantage for Quigley is that she doesn’t have a traditional basketball court at her Deerfield home. Her backyard setup — which includes a new basketball hoop she bought last month — is much smaller than most courts, and the ground is cobblestone.
“I was out there [Thursday] morning a little bit, just seeing what can work,” Quigley said. “I have a little cobblestone area back there, so just checking how things could bounce into the hoops and just checking behind the basket, backboard shots, just things like that.”
With her European season cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic, Quigley is missing basketball — and, specifically, the competition — more than ever. This might be the most downtime she has had between her overseas and WNBA seasons since 2012.
“It’s been a couple of weeks,” Quigley said. “We’re used to going [right into] the next season over here, so it’ll be fun just to compete again against someone and bring back something we used to do when we were kids, playing HORSE in the driveway.”
It’s too early to say how much the growth of the WNBA will be affected by a delay to the start of its season because of COVID-19. But the NBA choosing to include the WNBA in its first HORSE competition could help the league get more respect from some fans, especially if Quigley brings her A-game.
“It’s awesome that they’re doing this,” Quigley said. “In the time we’re in right now, I feel like it was kind of a no-brainer to have WNBA players in it, so I’m not, like, so shocked — that’s just how much progress we’ve made. Obviously, we have a lot more to go, but I feel like we’ll get there. . . . It’ll be cool to give everyone at home something to watch finally on ESPN.”