Having successfully served a dish of revenge cold, the Chicago Sky look to avoid a letdown Tuesday when they face the Los Angeles Sparks.
Chicago opened its season with a dramatic 88-86 victory over Las Vegas, the team that eliminated the Sky from last year's postseason. Allie Quigley hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 14.7 seconds to play as James Wade's team closed the game on an 11-0 tear over the final 4:29.
"Be aggressive, be confident and just make that shot," Quigley told ESPN's Holly Rowe post-game. "I knew we wanted this revenge and to get them back at the last second too, it was a sweet way to end it."
Quigley finished with 10 points as seven players scored at least eight for the Sky. Kahleah Cooper paced Chicago with 18 points while Courtney Vandersloot added eight and 11 assists. Azura Stevens had 12 points in her Sky debut, starting as Wade has opted to bring along Diamond DeShields slowly due to a nagging knee injury.
Shields logged just under 15 minutes and finished with five points on 2-of-5 shooting. Chicago's bench accounted for 32 points, with Gabby Williams providing a spark with 14 while hitting 6 of 8 shots.
"We got the first-game jitters out," Quigley added. "It was a little ugly, but we had some great players step up. Hopefully we can be a little more confident for the next game."
The Sparks needed no such late heroics in their opener, demolishing the Phoenix Mercury 99-76 on Saturday. Nneka Ogwumike hit all eight of her shots and scored 21 points while Seimone Augustus chipped in 14 off the bench and was also perfect, finishing 6 for 6.
Los Angeles buried Phoenix in the third quarter, outscoring the Mercury 30-8 as Augustus and Chelsea Gray each scored nine points. The Sparks shot 55.9 percent and forced Phoenix into 27 turnovers.
"I saw health, most importantly from Candace," Sparks coach Derek Fisher told the Los Angeles Times as Candace Parker finished with 13 points while helping limit Mercury center Britney Griner to nine and eight rebounds.
"I think she feels physically in a place where she can start to feel over the next few weeks and prepare herself to have a great season, I really do. ... The success we hope to have this year, a lot of it revolves around Candace's versatility on both ends."
This starts a stretch of three games in five days for the Sparks, which could prove a test to their veteran depth with the 34-year-old Parker and 36-year-old Augustus. Los Angeles is without Kristi Toliver and Nneka's sister Chiney Ogwumike as both opted out of playing this season.
The home team won all three games between the teams last season, with the Sparks winning the two in Los Angeles by a combined 28 points. Chicago did win the most recent matchup 91-81 as Quigley had 26 points and Vandersloot added 17 and nine assists.
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