Chicago Sky Schedule Preview: June 5 - June 10

The Sky battle injuries to their key players as they head West.

The good news: Courtney Vandersloot is back in Chicago. She teams up with Jamierra Faulkner to form arguably the best point guard tandem in the WNBA, and head coach Amber Stocks has thus far not been shy about playing the two at the same time.

The bad news: Allie Quigley and Stefanie Dolson are now sidelined - Quigley with a hip injury and Dolson with a strained tendon. This means that a significant part of the Sky's off-ball offense must be put on hold.

The timing of these injuries could have been better. The Connecticut Sun rolled into Chicago as the WNBA's hottest team and left town even hotter after drubbing the Sky by nearly 40 points. The Sky simply did not have the depth to keep up - losing the second half 62-37 - and gave themselves little chance on offense, turning the ball over 23 times and shooting just over 38% from the field. This was going to be a tough matchup for Chicago regardless of who they put on the floor, but a loss in which Vandersloot and Faulkner combined for 11 turnovers was especially deflating.

Las Vegas was up next, and though the Sky struggled in that game as well, they were able to outperform the Aces in crunch time, coming from behind to secure a 95-90 victory. It was another fast-paced game (WNBA.com estimated a total of 179 possessions), but this time it was the Sky's bench that came through: Faulkner scored 13, and Cheyenne Parker recorded perhaps the finest game of her career, racking up 20 points and 13 rebounds. The star of the show, though, was rookie Diamond DeShields, who attempted 14 of the team's 38 free throws en route to a career-high 25 points and a game-high +13.

So, despite their injury woes, the Sky are still hanging at .500. It's unclear when Quigley and Dolson will be back, however; if they don't return soon, Chicago will be facing an uphill battle this weekend as they head out West.

Friday, June 8: at Phoenix Mercury (9 pm CT)

Any gameplan against the Mercury starts and ends with two players: Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner. Both players need to be made as uncomfortable as possible because stopping them completely is just not going to happen.

Do the Sky have the personnel to make this happen? They have plenty of length on the perimeter to throw at Taurasi - DeShields seems like an ideal candidate - but defending Griner is going to be a different matter. None of Chicago's options at center are going to be able to check her one-on-one, so they'll have to actively help off the Mercury's lesser offensive threats to limit her options. And on the other end of the court, Griner's shot-blocking ability is unparalleled; if Astou Ndour is going to make an impact as a stretch-5, this is the game for her to do it.

Sunday, June 10: at Los Angeles Sparks (4 pm CT)

This is where it gets even tougher. The Sparks are rolling after yet another victory over Minnesota, and they're nearing full strength now, too. Jantel Lavender is back in the mix, making their frontcourt even larger and more skilled; meanwhile, there are few backcourt duos playing better ball than Odyssey Sims and Chelsea Gray.

It's a tall order and another game in which a center who can hit the outside shot would be beneficial. Fans should still remember Dolson's clutch late-game shooting against the Sparks last season, but if she's not healthy for this game, the Sky will have their work cut out for them.

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