The Chicago Sky of the WNBA has undergone a significant amount of change over the past two seasons. Despite winning the championship in 2021, the team has lost several key players including Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Azura Stevens, and Allie Quigley, leaving Kahleah Copper as the only remaining starter from that championship team. However, Copper has quickly embraced her new leadership role, helping the Sky to win four of their first seven games by averaging a career-best 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Copper helped lead the team to an impressive 19-point comeback victory over the New York Liberty, scoring 17 of her 27 points in the third quarter to fuel the rally. The team has also been lifted by offseason additions, including Courtney Williams, Marina Mabrey, and Elizabeth Williams.
Coach James Wade has always emphasized team over individual play, focusing on defense as a crucial key to the success of the Sky. Copper also stressed the importance of playing good defense. She believes it is the most controllable aspect of the game and serves as a cornerstone of the team’s identity.
The Sky were ranked fourth in this week’s AP WNBA power poll, with Las Vegas maintaining their position as the top team for the fourth consecutive week. Connecticut and New York followed Las Vegas, and Washington and Los Angeles completed the top six. The next three teams were Dallas, Atlanta, and Phoenix, with Indiana, Minnesota, and Seattle rounding out the list.
In other WNBA news, Brittney Griner of Phoenix heads to Texas for two games against Dallas, a homecoming of sorts for the Houston native. Baylor coach Nicki Collen plans to attend the game with her team, and Alyssa Thomas of the Connecticut Sun was named Player of the Week for her impressive triple-double stat line over three games.
The Game of the Week is a rematch of the 2020 WNBA Finals between Las Vegas and Connecticut. Both teams have been dominant so far this season and sit atop the standings, with Las Vegas remaining unbeaten and Connecticut only suffering one loss.