Basketball player

Sky’s Allie Quigley becomes the first professional basketball player to win four three-point shooting contests

Hours before entering her fifth three-point contest, one that would make her the most decorated three-point shooter in WNBA/NBA history, sky guard Allie Quigley warmed up with her teammates Courtney Vandersloot and Candace Parker at McCormick Place.

Vandersloot, Quigley’s wife, served as a makeshift ball carrier, methodically handing her a basketball after each attempt, while Parker stood inches from Quigley’s body, seemingly simulating the pressured situation she would feel more late in the day.

The advice Quigley received from her teammates was simple, but the words she received from Parker were direct.

“All my teammates just told me to have fun,” Quigley said after practice Saturday. “But Candace told me I better win.”

A year ago, after winning her third three-point title, Quigley vowed she would not enter the contest again. It was the first time in her career that she remembered being booed by a crowd in unison. But the combination of her hometown stage for All-Star Weekend and encouragement from friends and family persuaded her to come out of retirement on three points.

As Quigley approached the ball carrier and heard the announcer begin the countdown, all she thought was, “It’s your time; go ahead, she said.

His shot fell through the net effortlessly.

Quigley passed the first round after scoring 26 points, the highest among the six competitors, as Vandersloot and Parker watched from the scorer’s table. Mystics guard Ariel Atkins and Dream rookie Rhyne Howard also advanced to the second round, each finishing with 24 points.

After Atkins and Howard, Quigley’s second-round performance was even better. Vandersloot paced the sideline with Parker, who was wearing Quigley’s DePaul jersey, trying to calm her down. With every silver ball Quigley made, Vandersloot and Parker’s elation grew.

As Quigley arrived at her rack of silver balls, she could hear nothing but four-time All-Star Jonquel Jones telling her the title was his. As the buzzer sounded, Quigley struck another blow, bringing the crowd – including mum Christine, who was seated in the stands with her family – to her feet. She finished with 30 points.

After Quigley accepted her award, Parker kissed her before exclaiming, ”You have to rename it the Allie Quigley three-point contest. ”

Going into the event, Quigley was tied with Larry Bird and Craig Hodges for the most three-point titles with three.

“It was the highlight of my weekend,” said Sky general manager/coach James Wade. “For her to have this moment in her town adds to the legend of Quigley. I can’t wait to see the movie.”

Quigley’s historic win followed the skills contest which featured Vandersloot and Sky striker Azura Stevens. Both lost in the first round, with Stevens falling to eventual winner Sabrina Ionescu of the Liberty.

Vandersloot and Quigley have a trophy case at home, to which they will add Quigley’s fourth three-point trophy. Afterwards, Quigley said there was no chance she would challenge for a fifth title.

Quigley’s road in the WNBA was far from typical. She played on four teams in her first four years in the league before almost quitting. After signing with the Sky after a year out of the WNBA, Quigley finally stuck.

Her advice to the young players who came behind her was honest.

“Sometimes the things you want to accomplish won’t happen right away,” she said. ”It’s a journey. You have to stay the course, be coachable, be a good teammate and keep learning.”

Competency participants:

Rhyne Howard, Atlanta Dream

Sabrina Ionescu, Liberty of New York

Courtney VandeslootChicago Sky

Jonquel Jones, Connecticut Sun

Kelsey Plum, Las Vegas Ace

Nalyssa Smith Indiana Fever

Azura Stevens, Chicago Sky

Jackie Young, Las Vegas Ace

Three-point participants:

Allie Quigley, Chicago Sky

Kelsey Plum, Las Vegas Ace

Arike Ogunbowale, Dallas Wings

Jewell Loyd, Seattle Storm

Ariel Atkins, Washington Mystics

Rhyne Howard, Atlanta Dream