clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Pokey Chatman delighted with Sky's defense

After their dominating 98-72 win over the Indiana Fever, Chicago Sky coach Pokey Chatman took time to speak with Swish Appeal regarding her team's performance. She was especially pleased with their defensive effort.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Swish Appeal: How did you feel about yesterday's performance?

Pokey Chatman: "The end result was exactly what we wanted, a win, but I was proud of the way we got it. Specifically, the beginning of the game, we've been slow out of the gate and it was nice to win on the road, against a team that just got a really big home win.

"An emotional tribute [to Lauren Hill], home crowd behind them, and we start the game on that 9-2 run. And for the most part, we maintained that for about 85% of the game. For me, I think that was what stuck out the most."

SA: You have been doing well offensively all season, how did you feel about your defense against Indiana?

PC: "Coming out of the Tulsa game it was disappointing giving up 101 points. We scored 93, gave up 101. You're always going to look at your defensive end, so that the next game even though it was a loss on the road.

"I'm always half glass full [kind of person]. Take away the fact that you came off that terrible loss [in Tulsa] and the fact you gave up so many. Then you hold Connecticut to 67; you need to win. (We) tried to take away from the Sun loss was listen, ‘If we keep teams under 60, we'll be happy with the result, which is really hard to do.

"It was really nice coming out of that loss, going into Indiana, and doing a really nice job on the defensive schemes. On top of that, we made it tough for them, we got deflections and tough switching on defense.

"We weren't just switching to switch. We switch to take something away. We were aggressive in our switching and the thing that stands out the most -- we chart deflections. We got over 30 deflections, took away dribble penetrations and contested shots.

"Sometimes people talk about blocked shots, we like contested shots, so all those areas that don't show up on the stat sheet to the fans and media, that's a stat we keep. We're happy about that. Our assistant coaches are excited about that."

SA: What player outside of the stars, Elena Delle Donne and Cappie Pondexter, really stood out to you versus the Fever?

PC: "Courtney Vandersloot. I've been tough on her for years, and I think it's the nature of the position -- and also me playing it. She has done a great job at running her team -- and the thing is, it is her team.

"When they leave my huddle she's the one that's making calls, looking for mismatches saying, "OK, you want to switch, let's take advantage of a mismatch, it's directing people.

"She goes obviously from being the point guard but also the quarter back an also a coach on the floor. Really nice balance with those. Those won't show up in the stat sheet I know that flow comes from Vandersloot."

SA: Talk about the growth of Courtney Vandersloot and the synergy you all seem to have?

PC: "Part of it is she's starting her fifth season. We've had some time with each other. To your point, right after a timeout or on a free throw, we make special play calls. I'll look at her, and tell her what I want called, and she's already called it.

"The point is that she's learning the game. That's her learning situations, and I think all the time, she's connected to the players out there. The obvious connection with Elena running the four, Cappie has only been here for short while, but I think Cappie's experience helps that a lot.

"We're just four games in. I give credit where it's due, it's all Vandersloot. All coaches tell their point guards probably the same thing and to carry it on the court. She's really done that."

SA: Elaborate on your offensive explosion this season?

PC: "It was hard to predict at the beginning of the season, as we had a lot of moving pieces. The trades, returning players on the roster, people playing certain positions. You have to figure out what type of play benefits that."

"From day one, we probably worked on our transition game 70% of the time. We a quick shot offense, that's free flowing, gets a lot of people involved with spacing -- and it's hard to get your defense set when you're in an early offense, which I think has been a product of our style and benefits us. At least create some pressure on people, open some things up a bit more."