No longer a rookie team in the league, the Chicago Sky enter their second season stronger and ready to improve upon last year's 5-29 record. Bo Overton will be taking over as head coach after Dave Cowens left the team to coach in the NBA.
Stacey Dales and Jia Perkins are two other key veterans likely to contribute. Perkins is aggressive on offense and was third on the team in points per game behind Dupree and center Bernadette Ngoyisa. Dales, who worked with Overton during her time at Oklahoma, is a versatile player who will continue to help the team on both ends of the court. Meanwhile, six-year veteran Brooke Wyckoff was injured for most of last season. But when healthy, she can be a big boost on the defensive end.
The Sky are hoping to have Ngoyisa healthy after an offseason injury in Europe. Having led the squad in rebounding in 2006, she adds a formidable presence in the paint. Still, Ngoyisa's status for the start of the season remains up in the air.
NOT COMING BACK
After one season with the Sky, Chelsea Newton has returned to her former team, the Sacramento Monarchs. Averaging 6.5 ppg, she added depth to the team and was a defensive stopped and a solid offensive threat.
Last season, the Sky struggled offensively, scoring a measly 68.3 ppg. To help the struggling offense, veterans Dominique Canty and Kayte Christensen were signed as free agents in the offseason. Canty has an eye for the basket -- she averaged 10.9 ppg last season with the Comets. She has a good chance to grab a starting spot and will be a solid distributor and scorer. Her eight years of experience in the league will certainly bring some leadership to this young team. Christensen will most likely come off the bench to provide depth in the paint.
In the Charlotte Sting Dispersal Draft, the Chicago Sky picked up Monique Currie, the third pick in the 2006 WNBA draft. She averaged 10.0 ppg last season with the Sting and will be another strong addition to the Sky offense. She also shot 81% from the line last season and her 29% mark from 3-point range will help on the perimeter.
With a new coach in town and many new players on the roster, the early part of the season will likely consist of a fair amount of experimentation. To succeed in the East, the team will quickly need to gel, develop chemistry and get accustomed to each other's style of play. Making the playoffs may still be a stretch for this squad, but an improvement from last year can be expected.
All in all, the Sky will continue to improve, despite the growing pains likely to go along with the adjustment to all of their changes. They are young, talented and strong, but it may take another season together for this group to light up Chicago's famed skyline.