2013 WNBA Season Previews: Chicago Sky

 

PG: Courtney Vandersloot/Sharnee Zoll

SG: Epiphanny Prince/Eshaya Murphy

SF: Elena Delle Donne/Tamera Young

PF: Swin Cash

C: Sylvia Fowles/Carolyn Swords/Ruth Riley

(plus SG Allie Quigley or PF Michelle Campbell, pending a final cut)

 

Significant gains: Elena Delle Donne, Sharnee Zoll might be significant if they’re lucky.

Significant losses: Sonja Petrovic, Le’coe Willingham and Ticha Penicheiro are all gone, but none will be missed much on the floor.

 

There was only one significant change for the Chicago Sky over the offseason, but it was a doozy. The #2 pick in the draft produced Elena Delle Donne, a 6-5 scoring marvel from the University of Delaware, providing yet another ray of hope for the Sky that they might finally become a contender in the WNBA. Beyond that, this is the same group of players and the same coaching staff that flattered to deceive last year before tailing off and missing the playoffs yet again.

 

It feels like we’ve all been saying this for years about the Sky, but if they can put all the pieces together they ought to be a very good basketball team. Shooting guard Epiphanny Prince was in the midst of a breakout season last year before injury slowed her down, but if she can touch those heights again she becomes one of the scarier perimeter scorers around. In the post, center Sylvia Fowles has been a remarkably efficient scorer ever since she was drafted – whenever they can get her the ball – and remains a powerful defensive presence around the rim. However, she had injury problems last year as well (not for the first time) and followed it up with a very disappointing season in Turkey. With Prince blossoming and Delle Donne joining up, maybe some of the pressure will come off Fowles and she can work through the season without so much weight on her shoulders. Her ability to stay in one piece is almost as important to the Sky as head coach Pokey Chatman figuring out smarter ways to feed her the ball.

 

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2012 In-Depth WNBA Season Preview: Chicago Sky

PG: Ticha Penicheiro/Courtney Vandersloot

SG: Epiphanny Prince/Shay Murphy

SF: Swin Cash/Tamera Young/Sonja Petrovic

PF: Ruth Riley/Le’coe Willingham

C: Sylvia Fowles/Carolyn Swords

Significant additions: Cash and Willingham (trade with Seattle), Penicheiro (free agency from Los Angeles), Riley (free agency from San Antonio), Petrovic (trade with San Antonio)

Significant losses: Michelle Snow (free agency to Washington), Erin Thorn (free agency to Minnesota), Cathrine Kraayeveld (free agency to Atlanta), Dominique Canty (free agency to Washington).

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Big changes in Chicago, as head coach/GM Pokey Chatman proved that you can get a lot done in the offseason even when you’re in Russia coaching a different team at the time. In her first year in charge last season, the Sky were ultimately just as mediocre as they’ve been for their previous four season, and missed the playoffs yet again. The endless turnovers and poorly chosen shots drove Chatman nuts, so she’s kept her young backcourt and a couple of backups – along with, of course, superstar center Sylvia Fowles – and brought in a swathe of veterans with winning pedigrees to build around them. It’s a gameplan that makes a lot of sense, and has many people predicting big things for the Sky in 2012. At the very least, the Sky will be hoping to finally make their debut appearance in the WNBA postseason. Continue reading

WNBA Offseason Overview/Preseason Preview: Chicago Sky

Current roster certainties and virtual certainties:

PG: Ticha Penicheiro/Courtney Vandersloot

SG: Epiphanny Prince/Shay Murphy

SF: Swin Cash/Sonja Petrovic/Tamera Young

PF: Le’coe Willingham

C: Sylvia Fowles/Ruth Riley

Fighting for the final roster spot (or maybe to beat out Young, Murphy or Petrovic): Carolyn Swords, Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, Felicia Chester, Shey Peddy

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Well, being in Russia coaching Spartak Vidnoje certainly didn’t hinder coach Pokey Chatman’s WNBA activity this offseason. They made a big splash early, turning the #2 overall pick in the draft into Swin Cash and Le’coe Willingham in a deal with Seattle. The addition of proven veterans continued in free agency, as point guard Ticha Penicheiro and center Ruth Riley were both brought into the fold. Chatman also made a deal with San Antonio for the rights to Serbian forward Sonja Petrovic, who’s been playing for her at Spartak, and even she could be a useful addition if she can adapt to the WNBA game.

The Sky have lost the likes of Erin Thorn, Dominique Canty and Michelle Snow from last year’s squad, but the players they’ve added give the roster a much stronger, deeper look. Continue reading

WNBAlien 2011 Previews: Chicago Sky

PG: Courtney Vandersloot/Dominique Canty

SG: Epiphanny Prince/Erin Thorn

SF: Tamera Young/Angie Bjorklund

PF: Michelle Snow/Cathrine Kraayeveld/Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton

C: Sylvia Fowles/Carolyn Swords

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Head coach: Pokey Chatman

Significant additions: Vandersloot, Snow, maybe Wisdom-Hylton and obviously Chatman.

Significant losses: Jia Perkins, Shameka Christon, and they might even miss Mistie Bass. Chatman would have to pull a gun to make anyone miss Steve Key.

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Lots of change and a bunch of leaps into the unknown for Chicago this season, but let’s face it, that has to be better than where they’ve been in previous years. Continue reading