Wednesday, September 2, 2020

On the Beat With the Chicago Sky 08/31/20

The Chicago Sky have had an eventful week. They finished August losing two of their last three games, while adding a couple players to replace a couple others.
Guard Diamond DeShields and forward Azura Stevens left the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Sidelined with a knee injury, Stevens is heading to a cartilage specialist and is out for the rest of the season. Also done for the year is DeShields, who left for personal reasons.
In other roster moves, the Sky traded center Jantel Lavender and two 2021 draft picks to Indiana for forward Stephanie Mavunga. The 14th overall pick in the 2018 WNBA draft, was averaging career highs in points, rebounds and minutes per game, before a facial injury sidelined her on August 7. She is cleared to play now, but must wait through her quarantine period before playing for the Sky.
The Sky also signed free agent Alisa Jenkins to a seven day contract. The forward, who played for Indiana earlier in the season, made her first appearance for the Sky yesterday, playing one minute without any stats.
In the off day media session, guard Sydney Colson and forward Cheyenne Parker discussed the recent changes and events, while stressing the team unity and focus. With the loss of DeShields and Stevens, others will have to step up.
I asked Parker if Coach James Wade was working on any new wrinkles to be unveiled in the playoffs. Parker did not reveal any secrets, but stated that Coach wade was creative and would have a great plan. While not spilling any inside info, Parker's slight grin gave away the answer more than her words.
Especially with the recent changes, Coach Wade has been forced to be flexible with his team and the plans. It's a guaranteed Coach Wade will debut a new play or two when the playoffs begin.
Last Thursday's game with the Indiana Fever was played yesterday and won by the Sky to snap their two game skid. The postponement was the result of the players taking a stand for social justice.
On Monday, the Sky beat the Fever handily 100-77. The Sky sits in 1st place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 10-6 with six games remaining. Wednesday night, they face the Minnesota Lynx, who at 10-5 are in 4th place in the Western Conference.
The Sky have a comfortable three game lead in the Eastern Conference. While winning is still the focus over the remaining games, team chemistry is very important, too. A lot has changed in a week, but the Sky are still on top and plan to stay there.
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