Chicago Sky Schedule Preview: July 10 - 16

Bitten hard by the injury bug, the Sky earned a key victory at home against the defending champs.

The Sky recently earned one of their biggest wins on the season: a rousing victory against the Minnesota Lynx. Their struggling defense stepped up in a big way -holding Minnesota to just 79.7 points per 100 possessions - and they were able to overcome a -11 offensive rebound deficit with outstanding backcourt play and accurate 3-point shooting.

The win was much-needed; not just for the standings, but for morale. Backup point guard Jamierra Faulkner went down with a non-contact knee injury last week in the Sky's game against Dallas, and the test results were not good.

Adding to the bad news, center Astou Ndour sprained her ankle in Chicago's very next game. It was an injury that looked worse than it actually was (Ndour is expected to miss the next 2-3 weeks), but it nevertheless puts the Sky in a compromised position in the coming days.

Faulkner will be replaced by undrafted rookie Linnae Harper. A Chicago native, Harper is one of the feel-good stories of the WNBA season, and she played well in her time against the Lynx, scoring seven points in 10 minutes of action. The Sky recently kept Harper on the roster by signing her to a 7-day contract - retroactive to Wednesday - so expect more news regarding her spot in the coming days.

Tuesday, July 10: vs Las Vegas Aces (7:30 pm CT)

This is the third and final meeting between the Sky and Aces, and it will decide their season series. Their first two contests were both close ones; in fact, their cumulative score (175-174 in favor of Chicago) couldn't be any closer.

Expect more of the same here. After a tumultuous start, the Aces appear to have a rotation set, led by the ever-dangerous Kayla McBride and rookie of the year favorite A'ja Wilson. Contain one of these players, and the Sky will have a good chance at victory, but that's been easier said than done for Aces opponents lately. Wilson's penchant for getting to the free throw line, coupled with Ndour's absence, will make the Sky's interior defensive discipline extremely important.

Friday, July 13: at Washington Mystics (6:00 pm CT)

If the Sky's season series against the Aces has been excruciatingly close, their games against the Mystics have been the opposite of that. Chicago has been dominated by Washington in their first two meetings, losing by an average of 22 points per game.

The Sky have been playing much better on defense lately, however, and this will be a good measure of their progress on that end. The Mystics can spread the floor as well as any team in the WNBA, and Chicago's rotations must be crisp if they're going to pull this one out. One thing to look for, in particular, is defensive pressure: Amber Stocks turned to a full-court press in the Sky's second match against Washington, and it did bring them back into the game, so we'll see if she does something similar here.

Sunday, July 15: at New York Liberty (2:00 pm CT)

The Sky and Liberty should be plenty familiar with each other by now, having played three times already. Their last contest was a 103-99 overtime thriller and a Liberty comeback. As always, the Sky will have to keep Tina Charles off the low block and Brittany Boyd out of transition; their backcourt of Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley should have a good game here.

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