Stop if you’ve read this before: The Chicago Sky lost another home game.
It seems like no matter what the Sky do, they can’t seem to buy a home win at this point. After losing to the Indiana Fever 82-75 on Wednesday afternoon (despite a Wonder Woman-like game from Jessica Breland, who put up a 22 pt, nine rebound performance and overcoming a 13-point deficit in the second quarter), the Sky are now 0-7 at home in 2017, and have an overall 3-11 record on the season.
There was a possibility that after the offseason they had (firing Pokey Chatman, trading away Elena Delle Donne) that the Sky would face an uphill battle. But no one could have seen it being this much of a climb.
With plenty of veteran talent (Allie Quigley, Cappie Pondexter, Tamera Young), a proven floor leader (Courtney Vandersloot) and the twin towers of Imani Boyette and Stefanie Dolson, the Sky should have had the pieces in place to stay in contention. However, a myriad of problems have kept the Sky grounded, and with only three games separating them from the worst team in the league (the 0-14 San Antonio Stars, whom they face on Friday), it seems like moves may need to happen in Chicago.
Let’s take a look at the issues plaguing the Chicago Sky.
- HOME ISN’T WHERE THE HEART IS
In the seven home games Chicago has lost this season, they have lost by an average of 14.6 points. And that seems generous, considering three of the games were blowouts (including a 34-point whooping at the hands of the Washington Mystics on June 25 where their net rating was -42.4). To boot, the team averages a 19.3 percent turnover rate, seven points higher than their opponents.
It also doesn’t help that the Sky only average 76.7 points per game on their home court, despite having four players averaging double figures in points per game. You would think having such ball movement would lead to more success, but without a defined “go-to” player (Allie Quigley has primarily filled the role that Delle Donne presided over), the scoring has been inconsistent.
2. LACK OF CHEMISTRY
Despite keeping a majority of their starting lineup, the Sky brought in five new players and brought in a new coach.
With the Chatman firing came Amber Stocks, a first-time head coach at any level. Before this season, Stocks was an assistant coach for the WNBA champion Los Angeles Sparks, and before then, worked under the late Pat Summitt at the University of Tennessee. Stocks knows what it takes to succeed, but so far has struggled to find her footing in Chicago.
In the Elena Delle Donne trade, the Sky welcomed Alaina Coates (whose draft rights they acquired when they got the number two pick from Washington), Kahleah Copper and Stefanie Dolson into the fold. While Dolson is performing up to standard (12.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.3 block per game and leading the team in free throw percentage - 82.6 percent - in 13 games), Copper hasn’t adjusted as well in limited action, and Coates hasn’t seen the floor yet while recovering from a March ankle injury that ended her collegiate career prematurely.
The team also acquired Keisha Hampton in a trade with Minnesota a day after the draft and Mikayla Epps (a rookie) and Amber Harris made the team this year as well.
All things considered, the Sky’s chances of reaching the postseason are looking fairly slim. However, Stocks is working hard at taking the season one game at a time. When asked if there was any added pressure to win a home game after the loss to Indiana on Wednesday afternoon, Stocks gave an emphatic response.
“No. I mean, in our shoes, every game feels the same. The approach, the mentality, the outlook, it feels the same. I don't know that I would say pressure. However, we have a great fan base. Our fan base, our support, the city does a great job of supporting us, so for that, yes I would love to get our fan base a home win.”
Chicago’s next home game doesn’t come until July 8, when they face the league-leading Minnesota Lynx (11-1).