At the end of the first quarter, the Chicago Sky led the Seattle Storm 21-7 and appeared to be on their way to an easy win at home against a team that nobody expected much from this season.
Then the Storm proceeded to outscore the Sky by 23 points over the final three quarters and win the game 69-60.
So what happened? Obviously, the Sky were without Fowles, but why the sudden swing?
First a look at the stats:
Four Factors & synergy statistics for quarters 2-4 for Chicago vs. Seattle on 7/2/13.
So clearly, that effective field goal percentage that some folks want to see more of was a problem. And looking at the shot charts helps to illustrate that a bit.
The Chicago Sky’s shooting performance vs the Storm.
So yes, that’s a lot of red dots in those final three quarters but two things really stand out.
- Their low synergy score (-.43) is generally a sign of a team that simply isn’t moving the ball well and looking to go one on one a lot. Logically, of course, one could say you can’t get assists if you don’t make shots. And that’s true too.
- Yet along those lines of not moving the ball, what was really alarming is that the Sky shot 20 3-point shots in those final three quarters. For perspective, they’ve averaged 14.7 threes per game this season.
Credit should go to the Storm for cutting off driving lanes effectively, trapping star rookie Elena Delle Donne whenever she got the ball, and limiting Epiphanny Prince throughout the game. But with the Sky’s stars struggling (Delle Donne and Prince shared game-high scoring honors with 12 points apiece) and the Storm clicking, the home team had to find a way to get themselves better shots or at least shots they’re more comfortable with. And the fact that they did in the first quarter is what has to make it more troubling for them.
“Early on, we were getting (Carolyn Swords) at the rim, you know, post at the rim, and then after that we were just settling for jumpers,” said Sky forward Swin Cash, who finished with a season-high 14 rebounds. “So I’d like to see us a little bit more aggressive. Obviously we didn’t have (Sylvia Fowles) inside, but that’s no excuse. We have enough post play, people that can penetrate to get it done.”
On Seattle’s end, Temeka Johnson, who I mentioned as having a relatively inefficient season as a distributor thus far this season, came up big as she shared game-high scoring honors with Camille Little with 16 points – all in the final three quarters – and five assists to just one turnover.