Seven days after celebrating her first WNBA title, Allie Quigley was at her apartment in Russia gearing up for her season with UMMC Ekaterinburg.
Quigley will be there for just seven days before she’ll return to the U.S. for a two-week break in her EuroLeague schedule.
Approaching what will be her 15th professional season, Quigley is still driven by the joy she gets playing this game.
“Watching the NBA the other day a little part of me was missing it already after just a week off,” Quigley said. “I still really do feel a joy playing. Especially when you can get to a point like we did with the Sky, where it’s fun. We were all playing our roles.”
Of course, what isn’t fun about bringing the first WNBA title to a city that is near your hometown? Quigley grew up 50 miles southwest of Chicago in Joliet and played four years for Doug Bruno at DePaul.
The easy answer is nothing, but the Sky know the 2021 season wasn’t easy and it definitely wasn’t always fun. For Quigley, the year started with a minor hamstring injury that sidelined her for six games, five of which were losses.
Back healthy, Quigley was coming off the bench early. It was a role she didn’t complain about. By the second half of the season, Quigley was back with the starting five, and it was clear that’s exactly where she belonged.
Through the Sky’s championship run, Quigley averaged 15.2 points on 41.7% shooting.
So, what gets discussed between a veteran and her coach in an exit meeting after a championship season? When you’re nearly 15 years into your WNBA career, areas of improvement aren’t the main focal point.
Instead, Quigley and Sky coach/general manager James Wade recapped the season and how far the organization has come.
The future was on the table along with the 2021 WNBA Championship trophy.
WNBA free agency begins in January and Wade has four players on guaranteed contracts for 2022: Candace Parker ($195,000) Azurá Stevens ($140,000), Ruthy Hebard and Dana Evans.
In her exit interview, Quigley told Wade she’s only interested in playing for the Sky. The question for her is whether or not she is ready to retire.
“I’ve been going year by year,” Quigley said. “I’m going to let the championship settle in and think about that in a month or so, how I want to end [my career].”
Quigley said she’s still unsure on what the end to her professional basketball career will look like. She has gone back-and-forth on the idea and wants to let her emotions settle before making any decision.
Right now, she’s enjoying being a champion and all that comes with it.
She and her wife/teammate, Courtney Vandersloot, received their first championship partnership offer from Coors Light shortly after winning the title. It’s the only partnership deal they’ve received since beating Phoenix in four games.
When she returns to Chicago for her two-week break from UMMC Ekaterinburg, she’ll be honored at DePaul’s women’s basketball home opener against Texas Southern on Nov. 9.
Quigley and Vandersloot had a goal long before Wade joined the organization. Before Diamond DeShields was drafted third overall and Kahleah Copper and Stefanie Dolson arrived in a blockbuster trade. They wanted to make the Sky an attractive location for free agents.
They succeeded in making it attractive for Parker. And after securing the franchise’s first-ever title to become the 10th WNBA championship franchise, they may have solidified Chicago as a top WNBA market to play in.
The 2022 WNBA free-agency period will be telling.
“It’s unbelievable,” Quigley said. “I’m happy that Chicago got this championship and got to experience it.”