After the Sky’s overtime victory against the Storm on Sunday — the most-watched WNBA regular-season game since 2012 — forward Candace Parker said her team got lucky coming off a month-long break.
On Tuesday night, the Sky were still finding their rhythm on offense, resulting in an 80-76 loss to the Wings at Wintrust Arena.
Parker went to the bench early in the third quarter and didn’t return to the game after a collision under the basket that left her on the floor. She emerged from the locker room in the fourth quarter with ice on her left ankle and both knees.
“It’s the same ankle that she sprained [previously], but it’s not as bad,” Sky coach and general manager James Wade said. “There is not as much swelling as before, so we’re optimistic.”
Forward Kahleah Copper was the Sky’s only offensive spark in the first half with 12 points. She went scoreless in the third quarter and left the game late with an apparent ankle injury but returned and added four points to finish with 16.
Defensively, the Sky (11-11) played through possessions and forced multiple Wings turnovers on shot-clock violations but were outrebounded 45-32 and allowed 17 second-chance points.
An 11-point deficit to open the fourth quarter was too much for the Sky to come back from, despite guard Allie Quigley’s best efforts. She led the team in scoring with 27 points and was 77.8% from three-point range.
“We have to figure it out,” Quigley said. “We’re all capable scorers, individually and collectively. It’s about being the ‘I want to score more than you want to stop me’ kind of players.”
Stefanie Dolson’s 3x3 Olympic gold medalist teammate Allisha Gray led the Wings with 20 points. Copper was tasked with guarding Arike Ogunbowale most of the night and held her to 15 points.
Next up for the Sky is a home game against the Lynx, whose eight-game win streak was snapped by the Sun on Tuesday. Fourth in league standings, they remain ahead of the Sky, who are sixth after Tuesday’s loss.
Parker said Tuesday morning the Sky are focused on standings as long as the league continues with its single-game elimination format in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
“I’d take our chances in a series, and I think most teams would take their chances in a series,” Parker said. “At the same time, you just want to be playing really good basketball.”