Goss: Allie Quigley journeys from EuroLeague Final 8 to Chicago Sky
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org March 15, 2013 11:28PM
Allie Quigley (left) made her WNBA debut in 2008 with Seattle. | File photo
Updated: April 18, 2013 6:25AM
Maros Kovacik, coach of the Good Angels Kosice women’s pro basketball team in Slovakia, announced the addition of Joliet native Allie Quigley to the roster this way:
“She is a lightly built basketball player who has good marksman abilities in offense, and she is also useful in defense despite her lower height.”
We will interpret that as the 5-foot-11 Quigley has game.
Of course we already knew that. The 2004 Joliet Catholic graduate is one of the best female athletes this area has produced. She also was special on the volleyball court and softball diamond in high school, but basketball is her love.
In her first season with Good Angels Kosice, she’s helped lead the team to its first appearance in the EuroLeague Final 8, which will be played beginning Monday in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
Yes, the tournament is a big deal.
“The Final 8 is kind of like the Final 4 back home,” Quigley said.
The WNBA and European seasons are opposite on the calendar, so many, Quigley included, have played in both. The former DePaul standout recently signed a training camp contract with the Sky and will join them in May; the regular season begins in late May.
Her previous WNBA experience included stints with Seattle (which drafted her in 2008), Phoenix, Indiana, San Antonio and Seattle again. She has appeared in 34 WNBA games.
Meanwhile, Quigley has played several full seasons in Europe. She debuted overseas with Turkey’s Mersin in 2008-09. The next season, she began a three-year stint with Pecs of Hungary. Pecs became the Hungarian champion, and Quigley was able to play in the EuroLeague as well, not to mention gaining Hungarian citizenship last summer and playing for the Hungarian national team.
Pecs’ financial issues led to Quigley joining Good Angels Kosice this season. All she has done in the EuroLeague is average 16 points and shoot a EuroLeague-best 52.5 percent from three-point range, 50 percent overall. She’s averaging 15.1 points, 2.9 steals and 3.6 rebounds in the Slovakian League, where her team won its first 16 games.
When the season ends, she will return home and hopefully play a full season at “home,” with the Sky.
“I finally feel I’m at an age where I can make it happen (in the WNBA),” the 26-year-old Quigley said. “For sure, I’m a better player now.
“I’ve always been a naturally good shooter. My ballhandling got better as I got older and learned how to make the right decisions at the right time. I’m thinking the game now.
“When I was younger, I used more of my athleticism to get things done. Now that I’m older, I play with more poise. My high school and college coaches were always trying to get me to do things I do now.”
On-court experience aside, basketball has provided the opportunity to experience life abroad.
“I have seen things in Europe I never would have dreamed about,” Quigley said. “But now I’ll finally be able to play in front of family and friends. Like they say, there is no place like home.”
That’s one of the reasons playing for the Sky is such an exciting prospect. The WNBA, after all, is the best women’s league going.
“The athleticism back home is a little better,” Quigley said. “It’s a faster game. It may be a little more physical here.
“Some European players, if they wanted to, could play in the WNBA. The WNBA is the best league, but there is a lot of skill and competitiveness in Europe.”
On either continent, it is pro basketball.
“The style of play doesn’t make a difference to me,” Quigley said. “I have learned to adapt both ways. I take the contact now, try to be more physical myself, wherever I’m playing.”
Sky coach and general manager Pokey Chatman is thrilled to have signed Quigley.
“I’ve had the opportunity the past couple of years to watch Allie grow her game, and I’m pleased to have her join our training camp,” she said in a release. “Her ability to stretch the defense and score the ball has helped her lead her team, not only in scoring, but to its first ever EuroLeague Final 8 appearance.”
Quigley laughed about the reaction of her mom, Chris, when she told her she was gaining Hungarian citizenship after last season ended in Europe.
“My mom said, ‘You’re not giving up your American citizenship, are you?’ ” Quigley said. “I told her, ‘Don’t worry, it’s a dual citizenship.’ ”
Quigley said the dual citizenship has paid dividends.
“I played with the Hungarian National Team and helped them compete for the European championship,” she said. “It’s pretty cool that I have grown into the Hungarian culture.
“Besides, with only two Americans allowed per team in Europe, that makes me more valuable. I count as a Hungarian.”
Quigley said regardless of how things pan out with the Sky she’s planning to return to Europe for the next winter season.
“For sure, I want to go back,” she said. “As long as I have my health, I’ll play as long as I can.
“I miss friends and family, but I could see doing this a few more years.”
Why not? She has good marksmanship abilities in offense, and she is useful in defense.