Sky looking to restore order against Phoenix
With the 3-8 Mercury visiting, Chicago is looking to get back on track after dropping their third straight game to Indiana in an 81-72 loss on June 27.
Scoring hasn’t been easy for the Sky without Epiphanny Prince and the struggles continued against their arch-rival Wednesday. After playing two of the hottest teams in the WNBA in three straight games, the Sky take on a Phoenix team that’s only 1-5 on the road thus far. Chicago will look to utilize its home-court advantage, as the Sky are undefeated at Allstate Arena against everyone except the Fever.
As expected Sylvia Fowles has shouldered a large part of the scoring load since Prince went down for six to eight weeks, but the Sky’s improved depth this season is paying off. Swin Cash had a breakout performance in the June 27 loss to Indiana scoring 17 points, grabbing five rebounds and blocking two shots. Tamera Young, starting in Prince’s place, picked up 15 points, adding to her usual role as a defensive specialist.
Phoenix is coping with availability issues of its own, particularly in losing star Diana Taurasi to an injury in late May. Taurasi is expected to return after the Olympics, but the Mercury have struggled mightily in her absence, recently dropping four of their last five contests.
With Taurasi out of the lineup Phoenix has gotten a lot of help from DeWanna Bonner who leads the Western Conference in scoring with 19.5 points per game. Bonner has scored roughly 28 percent of her team’s points in the Mercury’s last three games while grabbing 22 rebounds and blocking four shots. Former Sky guard Candice Dupree has also contributed to Phoenix’s cause, scoring 15.8 points per game and collecting an average of 5.8 rebounds.
While Bonner and Dupree have put up solid numbers, it hasn’t been enough for the Mercury to make much of a dent in the win column. Chicago allows its opponents 73.4 points per game, the third-lowest average in the WNBA, while the Mercury give up a league-worst 86.7 points per game.
As it has so far with Prince on the bench, Chicago will rely heavily on its edge in the paint with Fowles to pull out a victory and start a new winning streak.