The Chicago Sky fall back to Earth following euphoric high of their home win against the Seattle Storm.
The Mystics, like a force of nature rolling over everything in its path, seemed inevitable Wednesday night. No matter how many times Chicago’s defenders closed out, another Mystics player would pop up along the 3-point line. It was an exercise in futility, as Washington connected on 13 of its 34 attempted 3-pointers.
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The Sky, who put up 85 points themselves, hit on 50% of their shots, knocking down six of 20 3-point attempts. But this has always been a game of stops, and the Sky failed to get many in the loss. Washington exploited repeatedly blown rotations and slow closeouts from the Sky, pulling away late in the second quarter and never looking back.
Diamond DeShields finished the game with 24 points on 9-for-15 shooting with three triples to go along with five boards and four assists. Courtney Vandersloot shot the ball poorly but added five points and eight assists. Jantel Lavender, Stefanie Dolson, Cheyenne Parker and Gabby Williams all dropped in 10 or more points apiece. Allie Quigley did not score in the loss, going 0-for-6 in 25 minutes of play.
Chicago has not been able to slay the Elena Delle Donne Mystics since they traded the superstar forward in early 2017. For her part, Delle Donne had a modest 12 points and 7 rebounds in just 22 minutes of play during the blowout, but produced the most defeating play of the game.
The Sky surrendered 16 offensive boards in the game and currently lead the league in offensive rebounds allowed.
But what doomed the Sky was turnovers. Chicago turned the ball over 19 times in the game, giving up 30 points in the process.
“That was it. Too many turnovers,” Chicago Sky head coach James Wade said. “Not valuing the ball. That’s been a constant issue. I think it has to be more important to us. But it’s tough. We only have three things that we really have to focus on what’s been really handicapping us as far as playing and winning games. We just have to value the ball a little bit more.”
Although the Sky are only three games into their season, they have been a team of extremes so far. They looked downright downtrodden in their opener against the Minnesota Lynx, but bounced back in a gritty home win over the Storm. Wednesday night marked another sobering exhibition that highlighted the weakness of Chicago’s play.
Wade is still trying to establish his rotations, and threw out some new looks again in the game.
Williams got plenty of playtime and played ample minutes at the point guard position. Katie Lou Samuelson, who did not play at all in the Sky’s game against Seattle, was on the floor for 15 minutes, although she went scoreless in the game. Chloe Jackson also got her first minutes since the opener. Dolson played just 17 minutes as Wade opted to give extra playtime at the five to Parker, who played well all game and had some impressive defensive possessions.
Chicago is indeed still vying for a playoff spot, but the waters they need to tread before getting there are murkier than ever. The team is still measuring expectations for the year, but the Sky’s faith in coach Wade remains steadfast.
“Well, I don’t really know [how you measure success this early in the season] because I don’t feel like I’ve touched it yet,” DeShields said. “If anybody knows, it’s him. All we’re trying to do and all I’m trying to do is buy into what he’s preaching. I trust him. I believe that he knows what success looks like and feels like. I trust that he’s going to be able to get us there. I don’t know what success is, how to measure it yet but I think at the end of the day it comes down to getting wins and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
The Sky will look to bounce back with another home win over the Seattle Storm this Sunday.
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