Sky is the Limit in Chicago


The Chicago Sky were slated as one of the three favorites to go to the WNBA Finals in the preseason next to the Storm and Aces. They won their first two games against the Washington Mystics and Atlanta Dream. They then went onto lose seven games in a row and questions arose about coaching, front office and expectations. Their lack of health was a major issue to start the season.

Up and Down Start

Injuries impacted the Sky early. Allie Quigley had a hamstring injury and Azurá Stevens was overcoming a knee injury, so they didn’t play to start the season. Stefanie Dolson, their starting center, played the first game and then missed the next four after she left for the 3×3 FIBA Qualifying Tournament. Candace Parker signed as a free agent in the offseason to her hometown team, which brought high expectations. She played the first game, then injured her ankle in a practice and missed the next 8 games. The Sky lost seven straight games after winning the first one without her. Once she returned, the team went on a seven-game winning streak and things looked to be headed in the right direction. A 1-3 stretch to end the first half of the season quickly brought the doubts back to light. Time is running out for them to get more acquainted and comfortable. 

Can the Talent Gel?

Their versatility and talent is a reason the team had high expectations and started to play better. It helps having Courtney Vandersloot, one of the best passers ever to play in the WNBA. She has broken multiple assist records the last few years. Adding Parker, one of the best playmaking post players ever, opens up everything on the floor when you have shooters like Quigley, Dolson and Stevens, with slashers on the wings like Kahleah Copper and Diamond DeShields. Copper made her first All-Star game this season. She has improved every year since she entered the league and has been a key player for the last three years. DeShields has always had breakout capability and could be seen as the x-factor for this team. Quigley is possibly the most lethal shooter in the league and attracts defensive attention. Dolson looks more confident than ever after winning a gold medal in Tokyo. If she plays with that confidence the rest of the season it really helps Chicago.


The Importance of Defense and the Wings

The athleticism of the Sky is their big advantage over most other WNBA teams. Sloot and Parker will always find the open player either on the wing or cutting to the rim. There are very few teams that have the type of athleticism and speed the Sky have with Copper, DeShields, Dana Evans, and Lexie Brown off the bench. Copper and DeShields are without a doubt two of the fastest players in the league, and with the size and length they have that’s a huge mismatch for many. Chicago is at their best when they create turnovers, because they can get out in transition. It’s likely they will get a layup or an open three point shot. The game opens up even more with Quigley, who just won her third three point shootout, on the court.

Depth Chart is DEEP

Depth can really help the Sky compete as well. James Wade can comfortably starters and star players and trust his reserves. Every player on the roster can come into the game and contribute in a meaningful way. Astou Ndour-Fall is an active rebounder and defender. Contributions from their young bench players have been essential to the Sky’s success. Ruthy Hebard is scoring and rebounding much better then expected in her second year. Evans is getting more comfortable in her rookie season game by game. Stevens is shooting the ball well after returning from injury. Brown brings solid defense and energy when she is on the team and getting minutes. Quigley is currently coming off the bench and she’s their third leading scorer. The Sky have five players averaging 11 points or more, and four more averaging over six points per game. 

Playoff Run?

The Sky do need some things to go well in their favor for them to win a championship. Health is the number one key. The Olympic break should have helped them. They enter the second half of the season as the fifth seed with a 10-10 record. As the WNBA season continues to get closer to the playoffs, it will be crucial for them to go into the playoffs with some momentum. They have many important games in the second half, especially against Seattle and Las Vegas. They have to prove they can get over the hump, which they have failed to do to this point. Chicago has the talent, can it come together in time for it to matter in September?


About Tariq McDowell

    Recommended for you

    Powered by themekiller.com