Fourth quarter offensive collapse sinks the Sky in loss to the Lynx

In the fourth quarter, the Chicago Sky came to a halt against the Minnesota Lynx.

Chennedy Carter and Lindsay Allen said it first. Sky head coach Teresa Weatherspoon said it after.

"We swing and swing, and allow the ball to find the energy," Weatherspoon said. "The fourth quarter, the ball does not move. That's not the team. We're not that kind of team. We are only a team that can get it done together."

The Chicago Sky went 2 for 23 in the fourth quarter. They shot 8.6 percent from the floor. They scored five total points in the final frame.

In the first 30 minutes of game time, the Sky led 57-52 going into the fourth quarter. They lost 70-62.

It was a matter of the offensive flow stopping. In this case, stopping felt like it came to a screeching half on the Kennedy Expressway with no exit in sight.

"We can't have that," Sky guard Chennedy Carter said. "We've got to have everybody on the same page."

The Sky have seemingly found different ways to lose games. Sunday was the most deflating rendition.

After having defensive collapses and struggling in the clutch, the Sky's offense just disappeared. 

Chicago was moving the ball well. The passing and ball movement had put the Sky ahead. Again, the Sky outrebounded a team in a loss, outrebounding Minnesota 44-40. 

Missing Elizabeth Williams has hurt this team, but it wasn't the difference in the game on Sunday. 

Especially when the fourth quarter was an incredible juxtaposition to the first quarter. 

After the Sky went down 7-0 in the first 1:16 of the game, they responded with their own 7-0 run and finished the first quarter ahead 24-16. Chicago shot 52.6 percent from the floor in the first quarter.

Lindsay Allen was the conduit of this start. She had eight points and hit two 3-point attempts in the first quarter.

"She’s a conductor, she steers the ship very well," Weatherspoon said. "No one knows like Lindsay about how the ball didn’t move in the fourth quarter."

The Sky had a response from every punch Minnesota had from then on, too. 

Then came the fourth quarter. The Sky struggled to find any continuity on offense and they struggled to get players in position to change that.

The Sky had no luck inside the paint and in the low post on offense. Layups that usually dropped in off the backboards were bouncing off the rim and out. Kamilla Cardoso grabbed 10 rebounds but made just one of her nine field goal attempts.

They weren't bad shots. She could have been positioned better, but the ball just seemingly bounced the wrong way each time.

Weatherspoon said the team had to keep that flow it acquired in the first three quarters. There was aggression and shot taking. Allen was one of the players who took the open shots.

They may have not been the best shot, but Weatherspoon said she encourages her team to shoot the ball when they have an open look, they're confident they can made the shot and the shot occurs within the flow of what the team is doing offensively.

"We got to learn how to keep the flow," Weatherspoon said. "What's working, you've got to stay with it."

Still, the Sky kept trying to feed the ball into the post. They couldn't force it to go down Sunday, even if higher-percentage shots were working earlier in the game.

However, the Sky only took four shots outside the paint in the fourth quarter. Dana Evans only played 7:17 and Michaela Onyenwere did not play. Both could have brought a different look on offense in the waning minutes when the game was still a one-possession game.

Perhaps something that could help in the future is an addition to the roster.

With Williams missing the rest of the season after undergoing surgery and the team waiving Kyrse Gondrezick, there is an opening for the Sky to add a player in July.

This season also includes the Olympic break, which would give whomever the Sky potentially add to the roster time to acclimate to the team and what Weatherspoon likes to run.

But, that's in the future. The 6-10 Sky have room to move and to operate, both from a roster standpoint and in-game. In the present, new struggles seem to emerge when another one is settled.

"That ball must move from time to time to find the energy," Weatherspoon said.


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