BRADENTON, Fla. — The Sky’s season finished much earlier than they expected it would. After starting the abbreviated season 10-4, the sixth-seeded Sky crawled to the finish line and couldn’t recover in the playoffs, falling to the seventh-seeded Sun 94-81 in a first-round single-elimination game Tuesday.
Allie Quigley led the Sky with 19 points on 7-for-9 shooting, Kahleah Copper added 17 and Gabby Williams 16. Courtney Vandersloot had 12 points and six assists, capping a memorable season in which she became the first player in WNBA history to average 10 assists per game after totaling 220 in the shortened 22-game regular season. But the loss overshadowed it all.
“We got outplayed today,” Vandersloot said. “All the credit to Connecticut, they are playing hard. They are really tough with those post players, the way they rebound, the way they score inside the paint. That’s what good teams do. They did exactly what we didn’t want them to do.
“This one hurts because I don’t feel like we gave them our best shot. But that’s the way that goes. We’re gonna learn from it and continue to grow.”
The Sun had a 40-21 advantage on the glass.
“We weren’t good enough tonight,” Sky coach and general manager James Wade said. “And so that makes two playoffs in a row that just didn’t go our way. I want them to take the loss with them and just understand and we have to come back better. My goal is to bring a championship to this franchise.”
Alyssa Thomas had 26 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, and DeWanna Bonner added 23 points and 12 boards for the Sun, who will play either the third-seeded Sparks or No. 4 seed Lynx on Thursday in another single-elimination round.
Thomas beat the halftime buzzer with a hook shot in the lane to tie it at 41, and the Sun started the second half on a 13-2 run with six points from Jasmine Thomas. The Sky were outscored 27-11 in the game-changing quarter.
Brionna Jones added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Sun, who overcame a franchise-worst 0-5 start to the season.