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Nice for what? Sky show toughness in gritty 86-82 L to Sun

Angel Reese isn't ducking the smoke after a flagrant 2 foul from Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas in Saturday's 86-82 loss.


Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas was ejected for committing this flagrant 2 foul on Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese in the third quarter of last nights game at Wintrust Arena. (The Bigs Visuals/Torrey Fields)

 

The energy was buzzing Saturday night as the nine thousand plus Chicago faithful packed out Wintrust Arena in anticipation for the home opener of Angel Reese and the Chicago Sky.


Coming off an impressive road win in New York, the Sky looked to keep their momentum against the undefeated Connecticut Sun, led by star forward Alyssa Thomas and 14-year veteran Dewanna Bonner (21 ppg). Still yet to see in-season action for the Sky was rookie Camillo Cardoso (shoulder) and forward Isabelle Harrison (knee). When asked about updates on both players, head coach Teresa Witherspoon gave optimistic responses ensuring that rehab was ramping up and that both players would be back on the court within the “next few games.”  


Chicago Sky head coach Teresa Weatherspoon (The Bigs Visuals/Torrey Fields)

Fast paced offense was the name of the game early and often in the first quarter for the Chicago Sky. Shooting at a near 60% success rate allowed the Sky to hold a slim lead for most of the first quarter. Capped off by a deep three from Marina Mabrey and a pair of nifty dribble moves to attack the basket from Chennedy Carter, the Sky headed into the second quarter with a one-point lead, 24-23.


The defensive intensity permeated throughout the floor also as rookie forward Angel Reese took on the mantra as the heart and soul under the basket. Reese was active on the glass and became a menace defensively making it exceedingly difficult to score on her in the low post. These defensive efforts helped the Sky to force the Sun to settle for contested threes (Sun shot under 20% from three in the first half). Headed into the locker room after an impressive 18-point performance from their bench rotation, the Sky took a 50-42 lead into the halftime break. 



Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese(#5) battles Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas (#25) for a rebound.(The Bigs Visuals/Torrey Fields)

The Sun would open the second half hot with a three-point barrage from Tyasha Harris and Dewanna Bonner. As the third quarter continued, you could sense the momentum shifting to the favor of the Sun as their physicality ramped up giving them the lead midway into the third. Angel Reese, however, never wavered from the competition and competed for rebounds all night. Reese remained an anchor even after taking a violent flagrant 2 foul from Alyssa Thomas. Thomas wrapped the neck of Reese and allowed forward momentum to push her to the ground causing a dangerous landing. Wintrust Arena voiced their displease to Thomas as she exited the arena due to an ejection and offered their unwavering support to Reese who made the two flagrant free throws. The third quarter ended with Dewanna Bonner three-point buzzer beater to give Connecticut the lead 69-67.


As the fourth quarter kicked off Dana Evans and the Sky sent a message of their own, sinking two early threes to stay within grasp of an upset. In the end these efforts could not slow down the seasoned vet Dewanna Bonner who would go on a 5-0 scoring run to seal the deal for the undefeated Sun.



Connecticut Sun Dewanna Bonner celebrates after a buzzer beating three pointer in the third quarter. (The Bigs Visuals/Torrey Fields)

The Sky came up short after battling with one of the league's best teams all night long. Experience from the Suns starting lineup began to reign supreme in the fourth quarter and it grew too much for the Sky to handle. There is no doubt however that the Sky will be here to compete and that they have a rocking fanbase behind them. After taking a beating for the majority of the second half, Angel Reese responded to the flagrant 2 foul like a fierce competitor. When asked about her response to the hard foul from Alyssa Thomas, Reese emphatically proclaimed “I want them to come at me every game, they're not supposed to be nice to me….” equating it to her “welcome to the WNBA” moment. Reese invites all smoke and longs for a healthy dose of revenge as the Sky look to lace them up again next Tuesday against the Seattle Storm.

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