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Sky guard Allie Quigley’s WNBA journey is one of resilience

Between 2008 and 2011, Quigley was cut five times by four teams. In the first four seasons of her career, she played in 34 games for a total of 189 minutes.

Between 2008 and 2011, Allie Quigley was cut five times by four teams. In the first four seasons of her career, she played in 34 games for a total of 189 minutes.
Between 2008 and 2011, Allie Quigley was cut five times by four teams. In the first four seasons of her career, she played in 34 games for a total of 189 minutes.
NBAE via Getty Images

PHOENIX — Allie Quigley’s first WNBA minutes came in a Mercury jersey.

She was selected by the Storm out of DePaul in the second round of the 2008 draft, the same one in which Candace Parker went first overall. After being cut by the Storm before the season, she signed a free-agent contract with the Mercury, whom the Sky now are playing in the WNBA Finals.

Quigley played in only 20 games for the Mercury before being cut again, but she made an impression.

‘‘We saw it instantly,’’ Mercury guard Diana Taurasi said. ‘‘She could do things that no one else could do. Physically it was a little harder for her; it was early in her career. But she showed glimpses of what she could do on the court.’’

Between 2008 and 2011, Quigley was cut five times by four teams. In the first four seasons of her career, she played in 34 games for a total of 189 minutes.

During one of those stints, Sky coach/general manager James Wade came across the young shooter. Quigley played in four games for the Stars in 2010, when she was teammates with Edwige Lawson-Wade (Wade’s wife) and was coached by now-Mercury coach Sandy Brondello.

Lawson-Wade told her husband: ‘‘You have to come to practice and see this player. She can do everything.’’

He did and remembers being impressed.

At that point in her career, Quigley still was developing and was on teams that didn’t play to her strengths. That all changed after she spent the 2012 season playing overseas.

Former Sky coach Pokey Chatman was coaching in Europe and was scouting Quigley, who had developed from a catch-and-shoot guard to one who could cut and slash, was a knockdown shooter off the pick-and-roll and was a threat off the dribble.

Chatman called Quigley in February 2013, thinking she was going to be late to her free-agency party. Instead, she signed her quickly.

‘‘She put in the work,’’ Chatman said. ‘‘She was so methodical, and she thinks about the game like a point guard. She sees it differently, which means she can be a voice and help others.’’

Quigley thrived in Chatman’s system. She played the same number of games in her first season with the Sky as she did her first four seasons in the league. Others took notice, and she was voted the WNBA’s Sixth Woman of the Year in 2014 and 2015.

Quigley became a starter for the Sky and a first time All-Star in 2017. She followed that up with two more All-Star nods in 2018 and 2019. In July, she won her third WNBA three-point contest.

Wade started this season by bringing Quigley off the bench but returned her to the starting lineup after the Olympic break. She is the Sky’s second-leading scorer in the playoffs, averaging 14 points. Forward Kahleah Copper is averaging 18.6.

‘‘I remember a couple of seasons ago, when I wasn’t playing a lot, she came to me and said, ‘We know you could go anywhere in the league and start, but we need you here,’ ’’ Copper said.

Quigley and Parker, meanwhile, were teammates long before Parker joined the Sky this season. The two Chicago-area natives played together in Turkey in 2017. Parker said during their time together overseas, she got smarter and started shooting with Quigley in the gym.

Quigley and point guard Courtney Vandersloot played a big role in getting Parker to sign with the Sky as a free agent in February. Parker often talks about the texts she received from them, talking about the championship possibilities. Two victories now separate Parker and Quigley from securing a hometown title.

‘‘She’s clawed her way into the WNBA, played overseas, has won Euroleague titles and is trying to win a WNBA title,’’ Parker said of Quigley. ‘‘Nothing has been easy for her.’’