The Chicago Sky lost a lot of star power in the offseason, including forward Candace Parker and point guard Courtney Vandersloot.
The Sky now feature a revamped roster as they open the regular season against the Minnesota Lynx on Friday night in Minneapolis.
In addition to the free-agency losses of Parker (Las Vegas) and Vandersloot (New York), 3-point bomber Allie Quigley is sitting out the season. Suddenly, the team that won the WNBA title two seasons ago and sported a franchise-best 26-10 record last season doesn’t look all that fearsome.
Leading scorer Kahleah Copper (15.7 points per game) is back and a couple of offseason pickups from the Dallas Wings — Marina Mabrey by trade, Isabelle Harrison as a free agent — were expected to play key roles. But Harrison (knee) will miss extended time, the team said Thursday.
Still, Copper expects the Sky to exceed preseason prognostications.
“I’m not the type of person that needs to relight the fire because the fire’s always lit,” Copper said. “That’s just something that ignites me. It’s good for me. I like it.”
Minnesota went 14-22 last season for its first losing campaign since 2010. The Lynx also saw their streak of 11 straight playoff appearances come to an end.
But Minnesota landed a possible future star with the second overall pick of the WNBA draft when it selected guard Diamond Miller from Maryland.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve likes what she sees from Miller.
“I love a competitor,” Reeve said. “She’s not afraid. She knows she belongs. And she’s so confident in what she does and so persistent at doing it. She’s not wide-eyed, at all. From Day 1 it’s been, ‘This is what I do.'”
Miller averaged 19.7 points in her final college season and is expected to be a big contributor from the outset.
“I do have expectations for myself,” Miller said. “Obviously, but I just want to play hard, give it my all. Every time I play now, I still get this excited feeling.”
Minnesota will have Napheesa Collier on the floor after she played in just four games last season due to giving birth to her daughter. Key returnees include Ariel Powers (14.4 points per game) and Kayla McBride (13.3).
Center Sylvia Fowles, the 2017 WNBA MVP, retired after last season.
–Field Level Media