Sat, 31 Jul 2021

Surging Sky take on shorthanded Sun

Field Level Media
17 Jun 2021, 05:19 GMT+10

The surging Chicago Sky will look for their fourth straight win Thursday, playing host to the Eastern Conference-leading Connecticut Sun.

Chicago (5-7) endured a seven-game losing skid from May 23 through June 5, dropping six of the seven by a single-digit margins and three in a row by a single possession.

Since then, the Sky have won three straight, including two Commissioner's Cup games. The Cup -- the league's in-season competition to enhance early season games -- includes 10 regular-season games for each team. At 4-4 in Cup games, Chicago is on pace with Atlanta and Connecticut in the Eastern Conference win column.

Chicago's most recent outing was not part of the Commissioner's Cup competition, but it did mark a season-best offensive effort in a 105-89 romp against Minnesota on Tuesday. It was the most points the Sky have scored since Sept. 6, 2019, when they beat Connecticut 109-104.

Tuesday's victory improved Chicago's record with Candace Parker in the lineup to 4-0 on the season. Parker missed eight games with an ankle injury.

"Having Candace getting healthier and healthier, and having (Stefanie Dolson) here and having Allie Quigley getting healthier and healthier (from a hamstring injury) ...we're getting better as the season progresses," Sky coach James Wade said. "The fact that we've been so tried and tested so early, and we still are together -- because two weeks prior was really hard for us, losing games -- they stayed together and it goes to the team and the spirit of the team."

Courtney Vandersloot had 13 of Chicago's season-best 32 assists Tuesday, becoming just the fourth player in WNBA history with 2,000-plus career assists. Her 8.2 assists per game lead the league.

Connecticut (8-3), meanwhile, goes to Chicago without its statistical-leader, Jonquel Jones, who is out while playing for the Bosnian National Team at the FIBA European championship. Jones is averaging a WNBA-best 10.4 rebounds and her 21.6 points per game is second in the league.

The Sun have won each of their four Commissioner's Cup games, and are atop the Eastern Conference overall, but lost their first game without Jones on Sunday, 89-66 against reigning WNBA champion Seattle.

Connecticut is also without coach Curt Miller, who is on leave while dealing with a family medical issue. Brandi Poole has stepped in as acting head coach until Miller returns.

"Everybody steps up and takes a little piece of that pie and whatever's missing," Poole said Tuesday. "Same with the staff."

In that vein, 16.4-point-per-game scorer DeWanna Bonner takes over the primary scoring responsibility with Jones unavailable. She scored just 14 against Seattle.

--Field Level Media

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