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Sky have toughness needed to bounce back from three-game skid

The Chicago Sky had a solid start, but now find themselves dealing with what they dealt with during the 2021 regular season: injuries and a losing streak. In 2021, they were tough enough to bounce back and win the championship.

Chicago Sky v Los Angeles Sparks
Kahleah Copper
Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

It didn’t take long for all the naysayers to count out the Chicago Sky from the beginning of the season due to their drastic roster changes. But they have defied those expectations by putting on some solid performances, including a 19-point comeback victory against the New York Liberty, one of the league superteams.

Team captain Kahleah Copper and company have come through with incredible individual performances in spite of a series of absences that have drastically limited their roster. The players who have missed time include Rebekah Gardner (out indefinitely due to knee injury), Ruthy Hebeard (maternity leave), Isabelle Harrison (out indefinitely due to torn meniscus), Morgan Bertsch (ankle injury), and Kristine Anigwe (overseas commitment).

Copper is second on the team with 17.2 points per game and third with 5.4 rebounds; she has taken on the role of leader in stride.

Alanna Smith, Courtney Williams, Marina Mabrey and Elizabeth Williams have each had their fair share of contributions to round up the starters. Smith and Mabrey have become known for their sharpshooting and offensive versatility. C. Williams brings a lot of the same positives as Copper with her veteran leadership, ability to grind it out at both ends and ability to come through in big moments. E. Williams has had some great defensive performances, especially when it comes to shot-blocking.

In terms of role players, Dana Evans has come alive after being mostly confined to the bench last season with limited play. She is a clear fan favorite; her defensive tenacity and offensive excitement inspire much enthusiasm. She had 20 points and hit some big shots in the June 6 comeback win over the Indiana Fever.

After a better-than-expected start, the Sky now find themselves struggling. They have lost three consecutive games dating back to June 9. Their two most recent losses were a 13-point defeat to the powerhouse Las Vegas Aces and a narrow two-point defeat against Indiana at home.

They currently stand at 5-6.

Copper was absent from the Indiana game due to personal reasons. As of now, she is expected to return in time for the team’s road game against the Washington Mystics on Sunday.

The Sky have the stellar veteran talent that can help them remain competitive and get some victories, but it is incumbent upon Coach James Wade to utilize his core players in a balanced way.

The reliability of those players is not in question; it is really a matter of some of the lesser-known reserves being able to step up and fill in the gaps left open by the injured players.

Forward Robyn Parks offers a bright spot based upon her 13-point performance against Indiana in 27 minutes of play. She was 5-of-6 from the field and 3-of-4 from the 3-point line.

Dealing with periods of injuries is nothing to the Sky. They had much of their core out in the middle of the 2021 season, which saw a seven-game losing streak. They ended up winning the championship. Obviously, this is a different squad, but they have veterans and vibrant newcomers that work within a system where prioritizing versatility has proven to have work.

The Sky are in a jam, but it’s not like it’s the first time.