Sky notebook: A winless week but the path forward is clear
The Chicago Sky (5-7) went 0-2 on the week and fell to 8th in the WNBA standings.
The good news from the week was the return of forward Morgan Bertsch after being sidelined for three weeks with an ankle injury. With Bertsch’s return, the Sky released Khaalia Hillsman from her hardship contract.
Chicago has some more rest time before a rematch against the Washington Mystics at home on Thursday, June 22.
Falling short to the Fever
The Chicago Sky went into Thursday’s game against Indiana trying to snap a losing streak, but free throws and a last second shot by the Fever’s Kelsey Mitchell were the downfall in the Sky’s 92-90 loss.
Kahleah Copper did not play due to personal reasons against Indiana, but Marina Mabrey took control offensively, setting a new career high with 36 points.
“You got to stay positive. You got to find the bright spots,” Mabrey said after the loss. “Dana stepped up again. You go down the line with Courtney moving to the point: 10 assists. Robyn stepped up.
“If we can come together and gel defensively and get rebounds, it’s gonna look dangerous down the line. Right now, you can’t let it get too close up. You got to see the big picture.”
Chicago saw the line just 11 times in the entire game with 7 of them coming in the fourth quarter; Indiana finished with 24 free throw attempts.
The free throw discrepancies are consistent all season long as the Sky are dead last in average free throw attempts with 15.2. The rest of the league is averaging around 20 a game.
“We just fought a game that I believe we should have won,” Wade said after the game. “That team did not deserve 24 free throws. It hurts that I got them to a place where [my players are] getting treated like they’re getting treated.
“I’m tired, like physically tired. This is tough. This is really tough. We talk about mental health; well, think about ours. We want the game to be fair.”
Turnover problems continue in Washington
The free throw ratio continued on in D.C. as well as the turnover bug as the Sky dropped their fourth straight game with the 77-69 loss on Sunday to the Mystics.
Washington got out to an 11-0 lead and never looked back, outscoring the Sky 26-16 in the opening quarter; 15 of those 26 points came from the free throw line.
“Our fouling just really took us out of rhythm in the first quarter,” Alanna Smith said after the loss. “We gave them 17 free throws which is unacceptable for a first quarter. It’s just discipline in not fouling, and I’ll be the first to say that I have a problem with that.
“Our intensity is there, but it’s our defensive focus. When you’re really, really focused on the defensive end, that pushes over to the offensive end as well. Then you’re not making mistakes on the offensive end.”
Turnovers were the biggest mistake offensively against the Mystics. Washington scored 26 points off of the Sky’s 21 turnovers, very similar to the Sky’s loss to the Mystics on May 26 where they had a season-high 23 turnovers.
Bertsch made her return from injury against the Mystics, putting up 16 points and 7 rebounds, but there’s still some growing pains as she gets back to game play.
“It was really good to be back,” Bertsch said. “I just approached it to just see where I was at to try and get comfortable and provide some kind of energy coming off the bench. I definitely noticed some things that I need to improve as an individual, but I think that will only come with time and getting back into a rhythm.”
Stats and notes
- Robyn Parks made her first career start and finished with a career-high 13 points vs. IND
- Mabrey reached 500 career field goals and 200 three pointers vs. IND
- Smith reached 50 blocks vs. IND
- Elizabeth Williams surpassed Tamika Catchings for 13th on the all-time block list with 386 vs. IND
- Kahleah Copper passed Candice Dupree for 10th on the franchise’s assist list with 260 vs. WASH