While its season may have been postponed along with every other sport, the WNBA got some deserved time in the spotlight in the middle of our current sports desert: two WNBA stars competed in the NBA HORSE challenge, with quarterfinals Sunday night on ESPN.
ESPN gave Quigley an “A-” and Paul a “B:”
At one point during their competition, Paul remarked that all he was hearing from Quigley’s backyard hoop were swishes. Paul heated up late, opening the door for him to come back from an HORS-to-H deficit, but Quigley slammed it shut with a bank free throw. In addition to pure shot-making from the perimeter, the two-time WNBA 3-Point Contest winner showed off more classic HORSE tricks than anybody else involved in the competition, including a bank shot from the ground that drew one of Paul’s letters.
The competition will wrap up on Thursday, April 16.
Quigley, who’s married to fellow Chicago Sky player Courtney Vandersloot, is a three-time WNBA All Star and has previously won back-to-back three-point contests in 2017 and 2018. Her 2018 win also set a historic performance record with 29 points, which, compared with the NBA record set by Devin Booker (28 points), means Paul had some fierce competition.
“I can go with the famous Larry Bird quote,” Quigley said, in an interview with the Chicago Sun Times: “Which one of you guys is coming in second?”
As ESPN showed, it was Paul. Watch the video below (starting at 2:09).
The elimination-style HORSE challenge is being played virtually, and is set to raise $200,000 for charities helping with the coronavirus response. “It’s awesome that they’re doing this,” added Quigley. “In the time we’re in right now, I feel like it was kind of a no-brainer to have WNBA players in it, so I’m not, like, so shocked — that’s just how much progress we’ve made. Obviously, we have a lot more to go, but I feel like we’ll get there... It’ll be cool to give everyone at home something to watch finally on ESPN.”
The inclusion of W players in the NBA’s skills competition is an exciting move for a league that’s been growing tremendously in the past year, especially since the Mystic’s first championship win last summer. While the coronavirus pandemic has put a pause on this year’s season and postponed the D.C. team’s championship parade, hopefully the NBA will continue to uplift players like Quigley and (newly announced Hall of Famer!) Catchings and keep amplifying interest in women’s basketball talent.
And it’s good to see sponsors are getting into the mix, too. On Friday, Quigley showed her new Nike gear to her Twitter followers:
The day after the HORSE Competition concludes, the WNBA draft will be carried live on ESPN on April 17 at 7 p.m. EDT.