CHICAGO, IL - It wasn't MVP Elena Delle Donne bailing out the Chicago Sky tonight in their 77-72 win over the Indiana Fever. It was the two-time Sixth Woman of the Year Allie Quigley.
In Game 1 of the WNBA playoffs many figured the scoring would come from the league MVP. Yet it was Quigley hitting the clutch shots and giving Chicago the offense they needed to take a 1-0 series lead.
"Back to how I got here, it was Pokey who gave me a chance," Quigley said after an emotional night. "She gave me a chance, when no one else did."
Quigley had arguably her best game of the season finishing with 20 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds.
"We wanted [Quigley] to touch the ball in certain areas and put Elena in different situations," head coach Pokey Chatman said. "At the end of the day, she's the one making the plays and the reads."
Throughout the game Quigley utilized her shooting abilities to keep the Sky offense afloat. Whether it was a step-back jumper or a falling away 25-foot three-pointer, Quigley held the hot-hand and led the Sky to its first win of the playoffs.
A few years ago, the second-round pick out of DePaul had trouble just making a WNBA roster.
Before joining the Sky in 2013, Quigley bounced around the league for a few years. Quigley transformed her career overseas - becoming a Hungarian citizen in the process - and matured into the sharpshooter she is today.
Quigley checked in the game midway through the first and immediately got the ball and hit her first shot off an inbounds pass. She finished the first quarter with 8 points on 3-of-4 shooting.
MVP Elena Delle Donne - who finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds - had been struggling all night to find her shot. Midway through the fourth quarter Chatman put the ball in Quigley's hands and let her take over.
"When you look at Chicago's [lineup] you have to give two players to Elena Delle Donne," Indiana Fever head coach Stephanie White said. "Well then you have Sloot and Quigley running wild."
Chicago's guards have benefitted this season from the extra attention Delle Donne demands on offense. It's opened up the Sky's offense and allows players like Courtney Vandersloot - who finished the night with 19 points and 5 assists - and the sharpshooting Quigley to take open jumps shots and to play more off the dribble.
"There are shots where Allie knocks it down, and I just ran back smiling," Delle Donne said. "Her release is so fast and there's times where she barely has the ball in her hands, and it's gone."
Quigley has provided the Sky with the bench play needed to compete for a championship. Delle Donne explained after the game that Quigley was a "pressure release" for not only herself but the team as well.
For the Sky to close out the Fever on Saturday they'll need Quigley to play the way she did tonight.
"We know the championship is our number 1 goal," Quigley said. "We have great chemistry on and off the court. We're ready to keep playing well and keep moving forward."
For Game 2, Chicago will travel to Indiana where they hope to close out the series.