Jul 27, 2017
Special thanks to Chris Poss for allowing us to use his amazing photos!
The Chicago Sky have had a very strange season.
A tumultuous off season featured the replacement of the head coach and general manager, trading of their biggest star, and a draft day debacle that either did or did not feature a trade but ended with an injured post player that has not yet played.
The season opened no better, with a 1-5 May followed by a 2-7 June. Starting point guard Courtney Vandersloot and sixth woman of the year Allie Quigley missed the start of the year due to overseas commitments, then after only four games Vandersloot left to go represent Hungary at EuroBasket 2017. The bottom came on June 30th, when previously winless San Antonio knocked off the Sky, 89-82.
During that game, Vandersloot took six shots. While she dished nine assists, she was not scoring the way the Sky needed her to.
A funny thing happened the next game, one that could have been a disaster for a 3-12 team hosting first place Minnesota, the best team in the league.
Vandersloot shot 16 times, hitting 11 of them. She scored 26 points, and dropped a then season-high 13 assists as the Sky upset the Lynx in a 100-76 blowout.
That was the first of three wins in a row, and suddenly with two games to go in July, Chicago has won five of their seven games, and the playoffs aren't so far fetched.
Granted this is still a team in process. Vandersloot, Quigley and Cappie Pondexter makes for a great three guard rotation, but it forces Tamera Young, who has been having an excellent season, into the crowded front court picture, where she seems to be losing minutes.
There are a lot of posts dividing minutes, too many probably. Coach Amber Stocks is still trying to get minutes for everyone, and at times their rotations look like a kid's rec team where everyone gets equal playing time. The Sky might be better off if she shortens the bench a little bit and maximizes the talent on the court.
We caught up with Vandersloot for a few minutes for an "In her own words" segment prior to the Sky playing the Connecticut Sun this week (Connecticut went on to win 93-72). Topics covered include:
Thank you to Courtney Vandersloot for her time, and good luck to the Sky as they go through the growing process. There is a lot of talent on that roster, and there is plenty of time to push toward the playoffs.