UNCASVILLE, CT – They’ve been dealing with “win-or-go-home” for the last week, so the prospect of a series might seem relieving.
Now in the WNBA Playoffs Semifinals, the Chicago Sky are in a best-of-five series as they face the top-seeded Sun starting on Tuesday at Mohegan Sun Arena. Losing that game would obviously not be ideal, but the team’s season isn’t going to come to an end because of it.
That’s the pressure the team faced their last two times out as the sixth seed in the playoffs, and they showed up for each. A double-digit win over the Wings at Wintrust Arena in the first round was followed by an 89-76 triumph in the second round against the Lynx in Minnesota.
But the Sky have no plans to ease up with their mentality as they play in the semifinals for the first time in five years and for just the second time in franchise history.
“We’re super focused. We’re just riding this wave of the last couple of games and we just want to keep it going. We don’t want to relax now that we’re in a series,” said guard Alex Quigley of the upcoming series. “I think we have a good mentality that we’re trying to win both of these games.”
That’s going to be a difficult task for the Sky since the Sun finished as the WNBA’s best team after an incredible finish to their campaign. After losing to the Fever on July 3rd, Connecticut didn’t lose again the in the regular season, winning 14-straight games to finish 28-6 and at the top of the league standings.
The only contest the dropped was in the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup final to Seattle on August 12th.
Mohegan Sun Arena has also been difficult for opponents as the Sun sport a 15-1 record at the venue. That a 74-58 win over the Sky on included June 27th after Chicago had won back-to-back games over Connecticut earlier in the month at Wintrust Arena.
To no surprise, the Sun have won a few individual WNBA postseason honors, including Head Coach of the Year for Curt Miller, Most Improved Player from Brionna Jones, and Most Valuable Player for Jonquel Jones. The fifth-year forward averaged 19.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 1.26 blocks per game for Connecticut this season, and provides quite a challenge for the Sky’s interior players.
“She’s the MVP, so you’ve gotta put a special emphasis on her. Defensively she’s a great player,” said forward Diamond DeShields of Jonquel Jones. “Ultimately that’s a major key to beating this Connecticut team, you’ve got to figure out a way to neutralize her, and it’s gonna a team effort.
“Like Allie said, we’re all pretty dialed in and focused on not only her butv just the team and winning both of these games.”