Chicago Sky Schedule Preview: May 29 - June 3

The Sky look to build on a 2-2 start with their veteran leader back with the team.

The biggest question for the Chicago Sky entering the 2018 season was how they'd perform without their starting point guard, Courtney Vandersloot. She was playing in the Turkish KBSL championship (along with several other WNBA players) and was slated to miss the Sky's first four games.

The answer, for the most part, was "pretty good." Key rookies Diamond DeShields, Gabby Williams, and Alaina Coates provided good minutes for the Sky as they soundly beat a weak Fever squad on opening night. Meanwhile, Allie Quigley continued her ascent as one of the WNBA's elite shooting guards, and the Sky came back home to beat the Liberty 24 hours later.

Of course, rookies will be rookies; and the Sky went through a bit of regression the following week. They dropped a game against Atlanta (one that wasn't particularly close) and blew a double-digit lead late in Seattle before falling to the Storm in overtime. You could make the case that the Sky should have won that game (and you'd probably be right), but they struggled greatly against Seattle's late-game pressure defense - something a veteran floor general could have mitigated.

The point is that the Sky, sitting at 2-2, survived without Vandersloot, and now they'll get her back. Guard Chelsea Hopkins and forward Adut Bulgak have been released to make room for Vandersloot - along with the somewhat enigmatic Spanish native Astou Ndour, who will also be joining the team. The Sky will have nearly a full week to practice with their "finalized" roster.

Friday, June 1: vs Connecticut Sun (8 pm CT)

That week of practice? The Sky will need it. Connecticut has been the WNBA's strongest team so far, sitting at 3-0 and owning by far the best efficiency differential in the league: they've been 21.2 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents. 

As unsustainable as that figure might be, the Sky are going to have their hands full. The Sun are tall, fast, and deep, and present some personnel problems Chicago just can't deal with one-on-one. In particular, the frontcourt duo of Jonquel Jones (last year's Most Improved Player) and Chiney Ogwumike is among the best in the business. Coates and Stefanie Dolson are going to need some help containing them; expect Williams to be active as a help defender in this game.

The Sky will also need to contend with Connecticut's transition game. With Vandersloot back, this will be less of an issue, though stopping Alyssa Thomas on the fast break is going to be virtually impossible. To win this game, the Sky might just need to beat the Sun at their own fast-paced game, because stopping them in the halfcourt will be a tall order.

Sunday, June 3: vs Las Vegas Aces (5 pm CT)

Things get a little easier for the Sky here. Not only do they not have to travel, but they'll be facing a relatively thin Aces squad that is still trying to find its identity. Oddly, Vandersloot will be facing both her Turkish teammate (Kayla McBride) and opponent (Kelsey Plum), both of whom also just returned to the US. 

The story of this game (and most other Aces games, if we're being honest) is #1 overall pick A'ja Wilson. Chicago will need to clog the paint and make her touches uncomfortable in order to limit her production. This is going to be a lot more difficult than before with shooters like Plum and McBride back in the fold, though, so the Sky will need to use their length and activity to disrupt the Aces on offense.

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