I am very excited to be "On the Beat" with the Chicago Sky. I have been a fan of the Sky since their debut prior to the 2006 WNBA season. I have been reporting on the Sky on Patch.com, but Wednesday, I attended my first game as a member of the press. You can read my full recap on the Patch at On the Beat With the Chicago Sky-6/28/17.
I arrived early at the Allstate Arena, expecting to see other media members and a smattering of super-fans. I saw the media folks, but I also saw a large and quickly-growing crowd of youngsters. Seriously, I couldn't believe how many kids were already there 90 minutes prior to tipoff.
That crowd just kept getting bigger, eventually topping 10,000. I'd safely guess the average age was under 20. They were already excited and loud (and well-behaved, I might add) well before game time.
I have to commend the youths and their adult leaders. In an age of so many distractions, these kids focused on the game the entire time. It was quite a spectacle to witness and it bodes well for the future of the Sky and the WNBA. Today's young fan is tomorrow's ticket-buyer.
The Sky lost 82-75 in a very good game. Despite falling behind early, the Sky roared back with an 11-0 run and actually led by 1 at halftime. Unfortunately, the Sky could not keep pace with the Fever, who pulled away and held off the Sky for the win. Still, a few missed free throws and a successful 3 pointer could have changed the outcome very easily. I give all due credit to the Fever, but the Sky hung tough.
I took part in the post-game media session. Coach Amber Stocks started it by praising her team's effort (and rightly so). This wasn't just notebook-filler stuff. Coach Stocks was absolutely correct and I am sure her team appreciated the support.
All wasn't just flowery talk though. Coach Stocks did talk about the deficiencies of the game and the Sky in general. She gave a valid assessment of the situation.
Coach Stocks also talked about the positive side. The team scored 24 points in the 4th quarter. The Sky had a 48-25 rebound advantage. They had the 11 point run when they were down. These things all speak of a team not as bad as their 3-11 record would indicate.
I was very impressed with Coach Stocks. She remained upbeat while being fair. She was composed and professional. Answering the tough questions after an even tougher loss isn't easy, but Coach Stocks showed her class and set the example for her team.
I also have to thank her for a small sign of nicety, as she came over and introduced herself to me after the session. She certainly did not need to do that. I'm not exactly a major media outlet, but Coach Stocks took a few moments to do so and I appreciated her effort.
Below is Coach Stocks answering the questions in the media session. Over the next couple days, I will also share the media sessions with Cappie Pondexter and Jessica Breland. All season, I will continue to provide recurring coverage of the Sky here and on the Patch.
I want to thank the Chicago Sky for their hospitality. I encourage everyone to go to Sky.WNBA.com to get more info, including their schedule. Then, take a lesson from the throngs of kids at the game and see for yourself!