Chicago Sky Schedule Preview: July 17 - 22

Losers of three straight, the Sky must dig deep if they're going to prevail against some Western powers.

The Chicago Sky have had better weeks. Not only have they dropped three straight games (and six of their last seven), none of those losses were particularly close, either (they lost to Las Vegas, Washington, and New York by an average of 21 points per contest).

Granted, they aren't playing at full strength right now. Jamierra Faulkner just began rehab on her surgically-repaired knee, and Astou Ndour continues to sit on a bum ankle without a timetable for her return.

That's no excuse for the lack of defense the Sky have been playing, though. They continue to bring up the rear of the WNBA in DRtg by a significant margin, and their overall efficiency differential is just a hair above last-place Indiana's. 

Things don't get much easier for Chicago this week. They play three Western Conference teams who boast a combined record of 42-24, none of whom the Sky have had much success against so far. It will be a three-game homestand for Chicago, and they'll need every ounce of homecourt advantage they can get.

Wednesday, July 18 vs Seattle Storm (11:00 am CT)

The Sky have played the league-leading Storm twice this season, and twice they've had control of the game before eventually giving it away. 

Chicago will look to stop this worrisome pattern in their last regular-season game against the Storm (and the last camp day of 2018 at Wintrust Arena). It's going to be a tough matchup for the Sky, who will be pitting the WNBA's worst defense (109.1 points allowed pet 100 possessions) against its best offense (107.9 points scored per 100 possessions). In particular, Chicago will need to defend the 3-point line, and their transition defense will need to be much better than it was against the Liberty to have a chance in this game.

Friday, July 20 vs Dallas Wings (8:00 pm CT)

The last time the Sky played Dallas, they suffered a 23-point blowout loss and a season-ending knee injury to Jamierra Faulkner. Not an ideal outcome.

Expect another fast-paced, physical game here. While the Wings will be on the second half of a back-to-back, it's probably not going to change their tactics very much; they'll look to force-feed Elizabeth Cambage, for whom the Sky had no answer in their last meeting (career-high 37 points on 16-20 shooting from the field). Simply put, the 131.7 points per 100 possessions the Sky allowed last time cannot be repeated if they want to win this game.

Sunday, July 22 vs Los Angeles Sparks (5:00 pm CT)

If it's any help, this will be the Sky's third straight home game, and they'll need the homecourt advantage here. They'll be looking to salvage their season series versus Los Angeles, who they are currently 0-2 against, and do something not many teams have been able to do lately: stop Candace Parker. The reigning Player of the Week came just shy of a triple-double in her last game, and she loves playing in her hometown.

It's a difficult matchup for the Sky in other areas, too. Keeping Nneka Ogwumike off the boards and Chelsea Gray out of the paint will be top priorities. If they're lucky, they'll miss Alana Beard, who is currently sidelined with a groin injury. If she's still hurt, that will open up scoring opportunities for players like Allie Quigley and Diamond DeShields.

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