Super Basketball League: The league-leading Connecticut Sun’s playoff run began with a bang on Tuesday night, but not the sort they were looking for, as they were defeated in a double-overtime thriller by the Chicago Sky.
Chicago rallied to a 101-95 victory away from home in Uncasville, Connecticut, powered by a historic effort from Courtney Vandersloot, who reversed the script against the one seed with a playoff record of 18 assists.
Former two-time MVP Candace Parker scored 22 points on the night, but it was Vandersloot who grabbed the headlines, becoming only the second player in WNBA postseason history to do so following Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes.
Ruthie Bolton, a two-time Olympic gold medalist with Team USA and two-time WNBA All-Star with the Sacramento Monarchs, believes the Sun’s complacency played a role. The Sun were dominant during the regular season (26-6) and had won a franchise-record 14 consecutive games before the playoffs began.
She knows a thing or two about what it takes to thrive in the WNBA as the league’s first Player of the Week, an inaugural All-WNBA First Teamer, and a defensive speciality guard who averaged over 19 points, nearly six rebounds, and three assists per game (along with two steals) during her best.
“I’m surprised since Connecticut has been so strong, but that’s what makes this game so exciting.”
“In the professionals, you can’t take anyone for granted.” “I believe that if you are caught being complacent, that is when those teams can sneak up on you,” Bolton added.
The double-bye that Connecticut received by finishing first in the league standings may have come back to harm them as well.
Whereas this was Chicago’s first playoff game after a nine-day hiatus, they had already knocked out the Dallas Wings and Minnesota Lynx in back-to-back must-win games.
Bolton believes it had a negative psychological impact on a team that had been cruising through the second half of the season.
“A bye never truly tempted me when I was playing.” Because it prepares you to believe you’re better than you are.
“Psychologically, you’re slapping yourself on the back, and if you’re not honed in or focused, the team that’s already playing will feel they’re in a rhythm and gain confidence.”
“They don’t have anything to lose.” They expect you to be better, therefore the onus is on the side that received a bye. Because the stakes are bigger, the pressure mounts. They may have assumed Chicago was a given.
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