Sky's fourth-quarter meltdown vs. Liberty mars telling response to tumultuous weekend

The fourth quarter was a strange place for the Chicago Sky.

After seizing control of the game and throwing haymakers at the New York Liberty in the second and third quarters, the Sky were different.

The team missed layups, Angel Reese got ejected and the Sky went out with a whimper in an 88-75 loss to the Liberty.

"These are things you'll go back and take a look at of: how composed are we?" Sky head coach Teresa Weatherspoon said. "We have to point those things out."

It took away from a game where the Sky had a contending team on the ropes.

But, going further, the Sky were not satisfied with just contending with a contender. They want to win these games.

"We should've won," Sky guard Marina Mabrey said. 

After the weekend the Sky had, it was impressive to see them respond after going down by almost 20 points.

The Sky had every reason to have a stinker on Tuesday. They were coming off an emotional loss to the Fever on Saturday and endured, well, whatever you want to call what followed on Sunday and Monday.


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The Sky even felt like it in the first half as the Liberty opened up a 17-point lead. New York was humming on the heels of double-digit points from Breanna Stewart. But, the Sky didn't crack.

Instead, the Sky went right into New York. 

Diamond DeShields and Chennedy Carter went right at New York's Jonquel Jones and Betnijah Laney-Hamilton. Jones had four fouls and one point entering the fourth. 

The Liberty went on a 10-0 run to start the fourth, but New York had to take the game themselves. The Sky had all the energy and momentum.

If this were Saturday, the Sky would have won. But, it wasn't the Fever on the other end.

Instead, it was against one of the best team's in the league flaunting one of the best players in the world. Look no further than the Liberty's 17-3 run to take complete control of the game.

Stewart finished with 33 points. She couldn't be denied.

In the second and third quarters, the Sky couldn't be denied either. Carter was everywhere. She led the Sky with 16 points. 

"There was a level of intensity that brought us back," Weatherspoon said. 

In the fourth quarter, that all disappeared.

The Sky lost their intensity. Part of it was the Liberty just sucking the momentum in with Stewart's play and Ionescu's shooting.  

Regardless of what it was, the Sky weren't okay with it.

"We're not satisfied with that," Mabrey said. "We're pretty disappointed with that performance, to be honest."

The fourth doesn't erase what happened in the middle two quarters, but it does bury it. No one remembers an almost-comeback.

Instead, the Sky are left with a loss and their star player ejected. That ejection was left without much explanation, as Reese appeared to wave off the referee as she walked away from the play and say something.

"I tried to get an explanation," Weatherspoon said. "I did not. I don't know to this moment what has happened."

The officials told a pool reporter that Reese's technicals came from two separate actions: the first for saying words back to the official and the second for waving off the official.

That moment overshadows what else happened, such as Carter's 16 points. She, at times, was the best offensive player on the court. That same court included Stewart, Jones and Ionescu. 

Carter, coming off the bench, remains a revelation for a young Sky team.

"She's the energy," Weatherspoon said. "You got to have the energy coming off that bench. And the one thing about Chennedy that I love so much is she accepts her role. She accepts her role, she accepts her role well. She's just trying to follow that lead and trying to do the best way that she possibly can and coming off the bench."

Carter has been stellar. After social media erupted at her after her hard foul on Caitlin Clark on Saturday, she didn't back down or hesitate.. 

The rest of the team is slowly addressing what it needs to do to win games. The team needs to get better at shooting. The Sky only hit two 3-pointers Tuesday.

The Sky also need to finish better at the rim. The number of missed layups were a reason why the momentum was sucked from the Sky in the fourth.

These are all things the Sky can improve. And if it's something they can see in front of them, the team sees that as a good thing.

"This is a great sign for us," Weatherspoon said. "We're okay."