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Sky rolls over, plays dead in loss
By Patricia Babcock McGraw | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/14/2010 11:01 PM

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It's debatable who needed the hugs and kisses more.

Steven Key's 2-year-old daughter Sidney never wants to go home after a Sky basketball game until she's given her Daddy a proper goodbye, which means lots of goodnight hugs and kisses.

On Saturday, it was Key himself who seemed to put an even higher premium on those simple comforts.

After watching his team self-destruct and essentially roll over in a 98-74 loss to the Atlanta Dream at Allstate Arena, Key needed something to smile about. The Sky coach emerged from his team's post-game locker room pow-wow holding his daughter tight, like he didn't want to let go.

"After a game like that, I need a hug," Key said as he approached reporters. "I mean, I don't even know where to start. We owe it to the fans who come to support us, not just this season but all the seasons in the past, to never to have a showing like that again.

"We should be embarrassed for that kind of play."

The Sky, which drops to 13-18 and had been officially eliminated from the playoff picture earlier in the week, went down by as many as 35 points and hit on just 36 percent of its shots against the Dream.

Worse is that the Sky seemed checked out from nearly the start. Missing in action was passion, fire and spunk, a stark contrast to the method behind Tuesday's victory against Phoenix, the defending WNBA champion.

In that game, the Sky unleashed all kinds of emotion and had 3 technical fouls to show for it. Sky center Sylvia Fowles, who normally says nothing, finally vented about all the abuse she takes inside and was promptly tagged with 2 technicals and an ejection.

Some thought it was the best thing to happen all season to the Sky, which has often lacked fire and emotion.

"This is an emotional drainer and you get upset, agitated," said Fowles, who scored 14 points, second to rookie guard Epiphanny Prince's team-high 18 points. "Tonight we came out and played like boo-boo. I thought we were going to be ready to play.

"It's gut-checking time. You've got to think about what the (heck) you're here for. This is your job. You get paid to do a job. My thing is I want to finish strong. I want to win. When that's not the case and we're playing like this, it's very, very agitating."

The Dream, which got double-figure scoring from five players and hit 56 percent of its shots, moved to 19-13 and secured a spot in the WNBA playoffs.