Saffron Restaurants reservation Sky has a lot of buzz, but what about wins?

Sky has a lot of buzz, but what about wins?

0 Comments


Guard Marina Mabrey is a key returning player for the Chicago Sky this season.
Associated press

Teresa Weatherspoon was a legend as a WNBA player, making the all-star team five times, even though the league didn’t exist until she was 31.

She has coached in college at Louisiana Tech, in the NBA for the New Orleans Pelicans, but her first game as a WNBA coach will be Wednesday when she leads the Sky to the season opener in Dallas.

History raises many questions: Why did it take so long? Was she even interested in WNBA coaching before the Sky came calling? Weatherspoon wanted to talk to reporters in Deerfield on Monday and didn’t want to dwell on the how or why of her new job.

“I never think like that,” she said. “When it’s your time, it’s your time. You just have to keep yourself in the now. And wherever I was at that time, I was in the now, I was in the moment. The moment this came and was available to me, I knew I was ready.”

There was an early plot twist in her role on The Sky. When Weatherspoon was hired last October, the goal was to maximize the Chicago years of All-Star forward Kahleah Copper. Copper even sat right next to Weatherspoon on stage during the introductory press conference.

In the months that followed, the Sky didn’t land the kind of in-demand free agents they were hoping for. So they traded Copper to Phoenix for draft picks. Now Weatherspoon leads a team highlighted by rookies Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso — except Cardoso is out with a shoulder injury and expected to miss another six weeks.

“Regardless of how it would go, it would be new,” Weatherspoon said. “It was a new coaching staff, so everything would be new. The culture would be new, the approach would be new.

“Everyone knows the story about Kahleah. But we had to move forward to get ourselves prepared and ready to go with the players we had brought in. We feel very comfortable with who we have here and we’re going to build from there.”

The buzz level is high on this Sky team, especially thanks to Reese and Cardoso, two high-profile college players who both defeated Caitlin Clark in the NCAA title game.

However, expectations are low. According to most predictions, Sky will finish last in the twelve-team competition.

A successful formula for the Sky would likely look like their second preseason match. Guard Marina Mabrey drained her first three shots from three-point range, allowing the Sky to jump ahead early and roll to a 48-point win over a disinterested New York Liberty squad.

Mabrey has shot 36.1% from 3-point range during her WNBA career. But veteran additions like Diamond DeShields, Lindsay Allen and Chennedy Carter are all sub-30% 3-point shooters. Dana Evans is streaky, but only 32.2% as a professional.

The Sky scores in different ways. Reese and veteran center Elizabeth Williams will look to pick up the slack while Cardoso is out. Reese scored 13 points in each of the two preseason games.

Mabrey and Williams played together with Copper at the Turkish club Cukorova this winter. That team reached the EuroLeague Final Four before losing in the semifinals.

“We had very high usage in the pick-and-roll overseas and I think that translated into some chemistry here.” Mabrey said. “It’s always good to get extra reps.”

The Sky is counting on several players who did not play in the WNBA last year, including DeShields, who played on Sky’s 2021 championship team. The Sky retained two former No. 4 draft picks outside the league, Carter and Kysre Gondrezick; while forward Isabelle Harrison missed all of last season due to a knee injury and will not play Wednesday.

Reese has a good relationship with Weatherspoon. Both spent their college years in Louisiana – Reese at LSU and Weatherspoon at Louisiana Tech. Reese’s college coach, Kim Mulkey, was an assistant at Tech when Weatherspoon was a player.

“I love Coach Spoon,” Reese said. “She looks a bit like coach Mulkey, a tough coach, you have to have thick skin. In addition, you must be willing to be coached by her. She has an eye for details. I’m just excited to absorb everything I can from her.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports