Sky Off to Great Start

The Chicago Sky showcased their mix of young and veteran talent today with a big win over the Chinese National Team 84-45 on the campus of Trinity International University in Deerfield in the team’s first preseason game and their first ever against the visiting team. The crowd was particularly loud as nearly 1,000 kids from the Chicago area filled the stands as part of Education Day.

The Chinese National team kept the game close until late in the second quarter when the Sky went on an 8-0 run to close out the half. Fowles layup to start the third started a 12-0 run that put the visitors away for good.

Head Coach and General Manager Pokey Chatman in her coaching debut for the Sky said, “It took a little while to get the jitters out and that’s what they did in the second half. We did a good job of passing the ball inside and out, China played a lot of zone and we don’t we see that a lot in the league, so it was a change of pace for us.”

All-Star Sylvia Fowles led the Sky in scoring. She had 18 points, 4 rebounds and went 9 of 11 from the field in just 14 minutes, already returning to form from her record setting season last year. Another clear standout was Epiphany Prince. Now in her second season and playing much more confidently she logged 10 points and 4 rebounds, and was 3 of 4 from the free throw line.

“We just need to play the way we have been playing in practice the that couple of days,” said Fowles. “This is a new team and we need to take it slow and play the way we have been playing. We got off to a slow start but finally picked it up together as a team. I had a lot of fun today.”

Rookie Carolyn Swords from Boston College had 13 points, 8 rebounds, and went 6 of 10 from the field in her first game with the Sky. Courtney Vandersloot from Gonzaga, third overall pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft, had a quite 5 points, 7 assists and was 1 for 2 from outside the stripe in 21 minutes of play.

“The first half I thought Courtney was waiting back a little,” said Coach Chatman. “But then I said Courtney I drafted you to play, and then you saw her get more comfortable in the second half, especially in transition.”

The Chinese National Team was led by 6 foot forward Ji Yanyan, who had 17 points, 1 rebound, and went 7 of 10 from the field. Gao Song added 6 points and 9 rebounds for the vistors.

For the game, the Sky outscored China in the paint 46-20 and out rebounded them by 21.

The Sky’s next preseason game is on Thursday, May 26 at Washington. The team opens the regular season at Indiana on Saturday, June 4. The home opener is Friday, June 10 vs. the Connecticut Sun.