Chicago Sky stars Allie Quigley and Kahleah Copper discuss getting more girls in the game, Chicago as a hoops city, and bringing Brittney Griner home.
Kahleah Copper is, as she says, just a kid from North Philly.
And Allie Quigley is just a kid from Joliet, IL, who grew up with her eye on the Bulls.
Today, these two are leading the Chicago Sky through another unbelievable season.
Embodying that Philly mentality, Copper recently led the Sky in a 19-point performance, shooting 63.6 percent from the field. Allie Quigley was right behind her with 18 points in that Aug. 5 game, culminating in the Sky’s 24th win of the season.
Then there’s the fact that Quigley recently broke a North American basketball record: she’s the first player in the WNBA or NBA to win four 3-point contests at an All-Star game.
These are the two of the W’s premier shooters, paired together on the same team, tearing through the league. At 25-9, the Sky are the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, facing another Las Vegas Aces showdown on Aug. 11.
It’s an electric time for basketball in this city, yet amid their hectic season, both Copper and Quigley carved out time to give back. On Aug. 3, the Chicago Sky stars joined Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen in celebrating, empowering and bonding with Chicago youth through Sports Matter Day, an event powered by the Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation. While Copper, Quigley and Pippen connected with kids on the court, the Sports Matter Giving Truck gifted $10,000 worth of sports equipment to 30 different athletic programs in the Chicago area.
Quigley and Copper shared their own experiences of the event on Instagram, offering powerful testimony on what this moment meant to each of them.
“While growing up outside of Chicago, basketball played a huge role in my life, and I love being able to share my passion for the game with the next generation of athletes,” Quigley wrote on Instagram.
“Keeping kids in the game is SO important to me,” Copper shared on Instagram.
Quigley and Copper are WNBA champions seeking a second consecutive title. If they are successful, they would be the first team to do so since 2002, when the Los Angeles Sparks won their second straight trophy.
Since then, WNBA champions have rotated through several teams consistently at the top — the Houston Comets, the Seattle Storm, the Minnesota Lynx, the Phoenix Mercury, the Detroit Shock — all of which won multiple titles. And it’s no surprise, considering the superstars that led those championship teams: Sheryl Swoopes, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Sylvia Fowles, and Candace Parker, who played for the 2016 Sparks and the 2021 Sky.
Yet the Sky flourish beyond the talents of Parker alone. Copper and Quigley, along with All-Star reserves Emma Meesseman and Courtney Vandersloot, comprise a team that strives to keep its composure as playoff pressure mounts.
In speaking with FanSided, Quigley says that their championship experience is what gives them their edge. If anyone can break down the door to building another Chicago basketball dynasty and bring the next generation into the game, it’s Kahleah and Allie.
A conversation with Chicago Sky’s Allie Quigley & Kahleah Copper
Why does Sports Matter Day matter to both of you?
Yeah, it was a great day today, and we know how important today is for the kids and for the city. It matters just because sports can teach you so many different life skills. We know that — we’re kind of living proof of that.
And not just to become a professional athlete, but just to learn a lot of life skills: discipline, teamwork, how to deal with loss, how to gain confidence. There’s so many things that are going to help them in life. So we’re just we’re really excited to be a part of this today. — Allie Quigley
That’s incredible. Is there a particular moment from today that stuck out to you when you were hanging out with the kids?
When we were doing one of the shooting competitions, one of the little girls was just kind of talking about how nervous she was. And I was just telling her, “so am I,” and talking to her about how much sports can help you gain confidence.
I think that was just one thing that stood out to me: that sports is more than just making baskets and winning championships. It’s about, like I said before, life skills and teaching kids how to be. How to love themselves, be happy and just have confidence. — Allie Quigley
I’ve heard a lot of athletes, especially in women’s sports, talk about instilling that confidence in young girls to continue pursuing sports, so that’s incredible.
I know that this initiative is about accessibility to different sports and equipment and getting that exposure to sports. Was there ever a moment in your childhood that that you think about when you think about the importance of exposure to the game and access to equipment?
I don’t think it was more about equipment — I think it was more about leagues. As a young girl, I had to play with the boys growing up because there weren’t a lot of girls’ leagues.
I think it helped me in a way, but it would be helpful if young girls had their own league where they can play against other girls who are also really good, just to feel confident with the girls. — Kahleah Copper
I’m glad you bring that up, because we recently did a story on Aliyah Boston. She’s from the U.S. Virgin Islands, and she helped start a basketball camp there because she didn’t have that growing up, either.
I do want to get into how both of you are having an incredible season, but there’s somber news in today’s WNBA. We just heard the verdict about Brittney Griner, and I just want to ask you both about your thoughts and feelings in this moment.
We just want her to get home. I don’t think there’s much to say. It’s a very sad, heavy day, but I think that all in all, we just really want her to get home to her family. I think that’s the most important thing. — Kahleah Copper
Allie, you and several other players with the Sky were playing with her in Russia this past WNBA offseason. What was your experience when you and your teammates were trying to get back and then found out that Brittany hadn’t been back yet?
Yeah, I mean, like Kahleah said, we’re just focused on trying to get her home today. Whatever that takes. We’re just thinking about her right now and her family and just praying for her. Just doing all that we can from over here. — Allie Quigley
Definitely. Thank you, I appreciate that.
Let’s talk about the Sky. You’re the No. 1 seed, reigning WNBA champs — there’s a lot to be excited about, especially this season. Overall, what has this season been like for both of you?
This season has been good. We’ve been doing a lot of great things, seeing us play a lot of really good basketball, and we still see a lot of improvement where we can get so much better.
I think that we’re just looking at just heightening our sense of urgency. Tighten up the small things that we need to get better at, but we’re just looking to build some momentum and going into the playoffs. — Kahleah Copper
You’re both integral as scorers for this team, but your team also has depth, which is so important, especially heading into the stretch before the playoffs.
Obviously, you have so many great things going for you. What do you both think is giving you the biggest edge in the league?
I think it’s our championship experience. We’re just gonna try to tear that through for the last five, six games in the season and into the playoffs. Keep that composure, and yeah, we know what it takes. So just trying to use that. — Allie Quigley
I’m glad that you bring that up, because I want to know: is Chicago Sky is building another Chicago basketball dynasty?
We’re just focused on one game at a time. We’re not thinking about being a dynasty. I mean, we won one championship. We’re just trying to go game by game now and put together another good stretch here in the playoffs. — Allie Quigley
Of course. You’ve consistently been in the playoffs, and it is such an incredible team that’s been built over the past few years.
New York has a reputation for being the city for hoops, but especially with the Sports Matter Day event, I wanted to hear more about Chicago being a great hoop city that maybe gets overlooked.
Yeah, definitely. Being from close to Chicago, I’ve always felt like that Chicago is one of the best basketball cities in the world.
Obviously with the Bulls, growing up with their dynasty, and now the Sky, we’re having success every year. We’re trying to put ourselves the map and one day get to where the Bulls are, so yeah, I think Chicago is where it’s at in terms of basketball. — Allie Quigley
Speaking of growing up with Chicago basketball — you both did the Sports Matter Day event with Chicago Bulls icon Scottie Pippen today. How was that experience?
It was cool to be here with the legend, to have regular conversations outside of basketball, just about life. And I think it was cool to just chat it up with him and be able to have this experience with him and for the kids to see us all, I think it was cool. — Kahleah Copper
Sounds like an incredible event!
Heading into this final stretch of the season, I’m sure there’s a lot to think about as you all prepare for the postseason. What are some things that you’re looking forward to heading towards the playoffs?
We’re just looking forward to continuing to get better every day. Playoff atmosphere is always just really exciting, really fun. Gym gets a little bit more packed. So just looking forward to that atmosphere…and just winning. Just wanna win. — Allie Quigley