2018 Season Preview: Five Reasons To Watch The Chicago Sky Work

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2017 Record: 12-22, did not qualify for Playoffs

Key Offseason Moves

  • Re-signed Stefanie Dolson, Allie Quigley, Jamierra Faulkner, Adut Bulgak and Jordan Hooper
  • Signed free agents Alex Montgomery, Astou Ndour and Renee Bennett
  • Signed 2017 No. 2 draft pick Alaina Coates
  • Selected Diamond DeShields (No. 3) and Gabby Williams (No. 4) in the first round of the 2018 WNBA Draft
  • Lost Cappie Pondexter (L.A.) and Jessica Breland (Atlanta) in free agency

2017 Season Highlights

Chicago Sky Top 5 Plays from 2017 Season

1. Vandersloot Dropping Dimes

Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot is coming off a season in which she averaged 8.1 assists per game – the highest average for a season in WNBA history. Chicago plays uptempo (they ranked 3rd in pace last year with over 81.2 possessions per 40 minutes) and Vandersloot is the catalyst for that attack. Vandersloot can score when she needs to (3rd on the Sky with 11.5 points per game last year), but she really shines in setting up her teammates for open looks. Entering this season, she has a handful of new teammates – including three rookies – to work with, to learn their games and figure out how she can help make them most successful.

2. A Diamond in the Draft

Diamond DeShields’ journey to the WNBA took her from North Carolina (freshman year) to Tennessee (sophomore and junior season) to Turkey (she skipped her final year of college eligibility and spent the last season playing pro ball overseas) to New York (where she was one of 10 prospects invited to the WNBA Draft) and finally to Chicago (where she was selected with the No. 3 overall pick). Sky coach Amber Stocks visited DeShields in Turkey prior to the draft and said she knew that was the player she wanted when Chicago’s back-to-back lottery picks came up. DeShields is a 6-1 guard that brings a combination of length, speed, athleticism and skill that should transition rather seamlessly to the pro game. Her speed makes her a constant threat to drive to the basket and she can pull up and drain shots in the mid-range as well. If there’s something she needs to improve, it’s her 3-point range, but that will come with time.

3. Gabby’s Magic

DeShields isn’t the only premier athlete that the Sky picked up in the draft. With the fourth overall pick, the Sky selected Gabby Williams out of Connecticut, where she shined as a do-it-all guard/forward for Geno Auriemma’s squad. As a senior, Williams averaged 11.2 points and led the team with 7.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game. She won the first-annual Cheryl Miller Award as the nation’s top small forward, although classifying Williams by a single position is a bit futile. Her versatility is what makes her stand out and should make her an impact player early in her WNBA career. Being surrounded by premier talent at UConn, Williams knew she wasn’t the team’s best scorer (she ranked 5th on the team as a senior) so she knew she had to find ways to impact the game – whether it be rebounding, defending, passing, hustling and doing all of the intangibles that coaches and fans love. Plus, she can do actual magic:

4. Coates Makes Debut

In case having the No. 3 and No. 4 overall picks in this year’s draft wasn’t enough, the Sky also have 2017 No. 2 overall pick Alaina Coates ready to make her WNBA debut. Coates suffered an ankle injury late in her senior season at South Carolina in 2017 that required surgery, which forced her to miss the entire 2017 WNBA season. The Sky were willing to wait a year for the talented 6-4 post player to get healthy, and now that wait is over. Coates is in training camp now alongside Williams, while DeShields fulfills her overseas commitments.

5. Opening a New Home

After an eight-year run at Allstate Arena, located just north of Chicago in the town of Rosemont, Ill., the Sky are moving back downtown as they get set to tip off their inaugural season in the new Wintrust Arena in Chicago’s South Loop. The new 10,387-seat arena opened in October 2017 and also serves as the home for DePaul’s men’s and women’s basketball programs. The Sky open their season on May 19 with a road game against the Indiana Fever. However, the next night is the home opener against the New York Liberty as the Sky begin a new chapter in their new home.