As she stood in the corner of the Target Center court, waiting to start the first round of Saturday’s WNBA All-Star three-point shooting contest, Allie Quigley felt just a little bit nervous. The Chicago Sky guard knew exactly how to calm herself down: by thinking of her late father, Pat.
“It’s kind of like a strength thing,” she said. “I just think about him up there, like an extra angel, giving me extra strength. I just want to play for him.”
Quigley won the contest for the second year in a row, earning another $10,000 contribution from the WNBA for a scholarship fund named after her dad. She also notched another major achievement in a league she nearly quit six years ago. After playing for four teams in her first four WNBA seasons, Quigley was cut by Seattle after training camp in 2012 and considered doing something else with her summers while continuing to play overseas in the winter.
Her career was transformed when she was signed by Chicago — her hometown team — in 2013. Saturday, the two-time WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year was cheered by a big group of friends and family at her second All-Star Game, where Quigley scored 18 points for Team Candace Parker in its 119-112 victory over Team Elena Delle Donne.
Quigley, 32, hit four three-pointers in the game — a team high — and showed deadly accuracy in the three-point contest, which was held at halftime. After tying with Las Vegas guard Kayla McBride in the two-person final round, Quigley saved her hottest stretch for the tiebreaker, earning 29 of a possible 34 points for the victory.
“It was so exciting to do it again,” said Quigley, who led DePaul to four NCAA tournament appearances from 2004 to ’08. “It was a little more interesting than I thought it was going to be, with the tiebreaker.
“It means a lot. My dad passed away when I was young, and the scholarship is for underprivileged kids at the school we both went to [Joliet Catholic Academy]. I think about him right before I start shooting, which is probably why I’ve been able to win it.”
As grateful as she is for winning the $10,000 charity prize two years running, Quigley is most thankful to be playing her best basketball at this point in her career. She played only 34 games total in her first four WNBA seasons, with Phoenix, Indiana, San Antonio and Seattle, and was not signed in 2012.
If any team other than Chicago had called her in 2013, Quigley said, she would have quit. She signed with the Sky and has been a standout for six seasons, playing in the past two All-Star Games.
Now a starter for the Sky, Quigley is averaging 16.0 points per game and making 43.5 percent of her three-point attempts. She was on such a roll in the three-point contest that Lynx forward Maya Moore rubbed her hands on Quigley afterward, hoping to get some of her shooting mojo to transfer.
Pat Quigley died of cancer in 1994, and Allie said his memory has lifted her ever since. Saturday, he was with her as always, on one of her happiest days in the WNBA.
“It’s kind of crazy to think that I almost decided not to give [the WNBA] another try,” she said. “It’s pretty amazing to know that even if a million doors close, if you want something bad enough, it can still happen.”