No WNBA team has repeated as league champions since 2002, when the Sparks won a second consecutive title. For whatever reason — parity across the league, the volatility of shortened seasons increasing volatility, or the unpredictability of the previous playoff format — no one has accomplished the feat.
That streak could be coming to an end this year, as the Chicago Sky look even more imposing than the team that put together a dominant postseason run a year ago. The starting lineup from last year’s champs is back, along with impactful offseason additions Emma Meesseman, Rebekah Gardner, and Julie Allemand. And the Sky appear to have some newly-found swagger after winning it all in 2021.
Chicago just completed one of the best weeks of the season. First, the Sky executed the largest comeback in WNBA history by erasing a 28-point deficit against the league-leading Las Vegas Aces; then Candace Parker made triple-double history in her first road game in Los Angeles after being named an All-Star starter; and Courtney Vandersloot capped off the stretch with a buzzer-beating game-winner against Minnesota.
On this week’s episode of The Whiparound, Sabreena welcomed Annie Costabile, Sky beat reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, to dive into the defending champs. Annie has a great read on the overall vibe around this Sky team and how head coach and general manager James Wade has created a culture of sacrifice and buy-in.
Annie and Sabreena get into what Meesseman and Gardner have brought to Chicago and how that has changed the role of Azurá Stevens. They talk about Parker’s sustained excellence, including how she brought out the magic against the Sparks, and whether this could be the legend’s final season. They close with some thoughts on the Sky’s preferred playoff matchups.
You can listen to all that and more in the full episode embedded below, and to make sure you never miss a single show moving forward, subscribe to the Swish Appeal podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, or Google Podcasts.