A WNBA championship on Sunday. A downtown parade on Tuesday. But what did Allie Quigley — the star of the decisive Game 4 with a career-playoff-high 26 points — do on Monday?
“Totally nothing fun,” she said.
It was perfect.
At home in Deerfield with wife and teammate Courtney Vandersloot, Quigley awoke from a hard-earned slumber at about 9:30. Not the worst attempt at sleeping in for a rain-making deep shooter who’d hit the hay at 1:30 after a night of celebration with Sky players.
“The second you wake up,” she said, “you remember what just happened. It’s hard to go back to sleep after that.”
More like impossible. Quigley, 35, a former Joliet Catholic and DePaul great, had a couple hundred texts waiting for her that she’d ignored the night before because she wanted to be present with family, friends and these triumphant women who took Chicago sports fans — and one another — on an unexpected and intoxicating ride.
The texts cascaded in from former teammates and coaches, and from family. A number in the Quigley tree told her how proud her father, Pat, who died when she was in first grade, would’ve been. Something about that, even after all these years, moved her deeply.
“I had quite a few people touch me emotionally,” she said. “They said just with how the game ended, the fourth quarter, how things worked out for us with them missing layups and us just hitting shots, that my dad was there, smiling down and watching, that he was a part of that. That was pretty cool.”
The Phoenix Mercury — not the only WNBA team that cut Quigley in the early, trying days of her career — did miss some bunnies. At the other end, Quigley, with the Sky since 2013, soared. With the Sky down 11 at the 9:14 mark, she drained a deep three. Then another 34 seconds later to cut the deficit to five. In all, she poured in 11 points in the quarter — a three-time All-Star’s finest hour.
Until Monday, arguably. Just chilling — “enjoying doing nothing,” as she put it — was sublime.
“We picked up our dog,” she said. “We haven’t seen our dog much because we’ve been in hotels and traveling and practicing. It was so nice to hang out with the dog and just kind of reminisce, think about the game and let it sink in.”
Gemini, a French bulldog, is 5. We can neither confirm nor deny that the trusty pooch was glued to a television when the magic happened at Wintrust Arena.
For the record, Quigley spent approximately zero time thinking about attempting to defend the Sky’s first title.
“No,” she said. “Definitely not. I mean, that’s the last thing I’m thinking about right now. I didn’t think about that once.”
The glory was too fresh, too sweet. And Quigley was too hungry. The nervousness and stress of the whole playoff run — especially the Finals — made it hard for her to eat. All the Sky had exit physicals Monday. Quigley’s ran longer than she would’ve liked, but she was pretty much A-OK.
“Just emotionally and physically tired,” she said.
It’s no wonder. Some time to check out from the grind and do nothing — totally nothing fun, a parade notwithstanding — is just what the doctor ordered.
The preseason AP Top 25 college basketball poll is out, with Illinois ranked 11th. In a related development, someone you know was roped in as a new voter this season and also ranked the Illini at No. 11. I also had 10 of the top 11 teams in common with my fellow voters on the whole. Of this, I am not particularly proud.
Preseason polls are the epitome of predictiveness. Don’t buy into them much until the games are happening and there’s actual evidence with which to contend. And even then don’t buy into them too much because, let’s face it, most voters — beat writers, which I’m not — are blind to the big picture while they fixate, necessarily, on specific teams and miss most of what’s happening around the country.
I’m a nut for college ball — best teams, best games — and will do my best to get it right. Unless the AP kicks me to the curb for being too honest about how the sausage is made.
• Illinois football coach Bret Bielema publicly eviscerated former coach Lovie Smith and his own offensive linemen Monday.
“I don’t believe we have a player in the two-deep that they’ve recruited here over the last three years that is really significantly doing anything for us in the playing department,” the first-year coach said, “and that’s a major concern.”
Bielema also ripped his quarterbacks in what seemingly is an ongoing effort to distance himself from Smith’s recruiting. By the way, Smith’s recruiting was poor at best; Bielema didn’t say anything that wasn’t true. But should he have said it for all the world to hear?
I’ll take the 2-5 Illini to finish 2-10, sadly.
• You’re Kyle Schwarber. The Cubs kind of broke your heart, but you went to Washington with a great attitude and killed it. But the Nationals couldn’t hang in the playoff picture and sent you away, so you went to Boston, took a roller coaster ride, reached the American League Championship Series and started hitting grand slams.
What an adventure for a great dude.
• The gambling sites are listing the Bulls at right around 43 wins. Take the over. You can thank me later.