Evaluating the 2023 Chicago Sky roster
The Chicago Sky roster is set for the 2023 season as general manager and head coach James Wade made some final moves before Friday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
WNBA rosters can have a minimum of 11 players but no more than 12. However, the Sky roster is listed with 13 due to Ruthy Hebard being awarded with maternity leave. With Hebard on leave, the Sky signed Kristine Anigwe as the pregnancy/childbirth replacement player.
They added Robyn Parks and Morgan Bertsch off training camp contracts. Chicago also claimed center/forward Sika Koné off waivers.
Here’s how the final roster stands:
Guards: Courtney Williams, Dana Evans, Rebekah Gardner, Marina Mabrey, Kahleah Copper
Forwards: Alanna Smith, Robyn Parks, Morgan Bertsch, Ruthy Hebard, Isabelle Harrison
Centers: Elizabeth Williams, Kristine Anigwe, Sika Koné
Isabelle Harrison will be missing extended time due to a knee injury and will not be playing in the season opener Friday night against the Minnesota Lynx. Elizabeth Williams was going through concussion protocol after the preseason game against the Indiana Fever but was cleared to play in the season opener.
Guard variety and versatility
The one thing Wade isn’t lacking with this roster is speed, and it starts with the guards. All five guards provide a different level of speed; all of them can run the full court transitional play at a high pace, but Rebekah Gardner and Courtney Williams provide an extra boost defensively.
Dana Evans has matured and gained confidence from her international play, and it showed throughout the preseason with a balanced stat line of 7.7 points and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 38% from the 3-point line.
While fans didn’t see Marina Mabrey take the court during the preseason, she did practice with the team in the final practice before the season opener. Add her with the leader of the team in Kahleah Copper and Wade has a lot of different lineup options and looks to give opponents with his backcourt.
New faces in the frontcourt
The biggest focus for the Sky was replacing size inside. Elizabeth Williams’ return from concussion protocol is a step forward while Isabelle Harrison’s knee injury is a setback. This brings all eyes to Alanna Smith who showed ferocity and tenacity inside the paint in all three preseason games, averaging 7.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 1.3 bpg.
Ruthy Hebard has continuously worked with the Sky’s strength and conditioning coach Ann Crosby as she comes back from pregnancy after having her son in mid-April. Kristine Anigwe will be the replacement player while Hebard works her way for a possible return this season.
Morgan Bertsch captured everyone’s attention early on in preseason. She adds much needed size with Harrison’s injury, standing at 6’4”. She put up impressive numbers in her limited court time with 9.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg and 1.7 apg. She’s long and fast, an absolute necessity when trying to keep up with the speedy Sky guards.
Robyn Parks’ story is similar to Gardner: undrafted out of college in 2014 and has spent the last 9 years playing overseas. She showed her strength and wide shooting range during the preseason, shooting 71.4% from behind the arc. The 6’1” forward shows her size defensively as well with a long wingspan.
Sika Koné was claimed in the final hour off waivers. Although she has no WNBA experience, her international numbers show a double-double machine while in Spain with an average of 17.5 ppg and 14.2 rpg. How she will be utilized within the Sky’s system remains to be seen.