It was a tall order to ask of this overhauled Chicago Sky team to win against one of the best teams in the WNBA in their season opener. The Sky made a good game of it for the most part considering so much has changed since the 2016 season - from top to bottom. New coaches, many many new players and the loss of a WNBA MVP in Elena Delle Donne who requested a trade to Washington so she could be closer to her home state of Delaware.
The Lynx defeated Chicago 70-61 in tonight’s 2017 season opener and now lead the all-time series 14-10 and are 9-3 in Minnesota. Minnesota has now won 11 of the past 15 overall, including seven in a row in Minnesota since the Sky’s 73-58 win back on May 29, 2010. No Delle Donne, no Vandersloot (who is still playing overseas) and new coaches - considering this massive overhaul the Sky held on pretty well against the powerhouse that is Minnesota (they lost to the LA Sparks in last year's WNBA finals after a Nneka Ogwumike layup with three seconds remaining which gave LA the 77-76 win over the defending champion Lynx).
When you lose a powerhouse player like Delle Donne it changes the whole dynamic of a team - and what I witnessed in tonight's tough loss was a very strong offensive board game by the Sky, a wider spread of scoring by different players and some great defense (at times). Obviously there is work to be done to tighten up the overall game of the Sky on both ends of the floor. There were many times that on the Lynx offensive end of the floor it was filled with Minnesota players and the Sky players were nowhere in sight. Too many turnovers, missed layups, foul trouble - these factors all led to tonight's loss. The foul trouble you can forgive because the Lynx are a high powered scoring machine but the turnovers and missed layups shouldn't contribute to a team's loss in the pro ranks.
Enjoyed watching Stefanie Dolson in a Sky uniform vs. her alma mater of UConn (reminder I'm a die-hard Lady Vols fan so UConn has been a thorn in my side for years!) - Dolson did a good job in the 2nd half defending against Sylvia Fowles once she came off the bench after foul trouble in the first half. Tamera Young (a holdover from the Sky's former roster) played a great game leading all Sky scorers with 14 points - not bad for a player who came in off the bench! Last year's hot rookie Imani Boyette struggled a bit tonight but managed 7 points and 12 rebounds though she also had 5 turnovers. The Sky had a total of 23 turnovers versus the Lynx's 15. Hurry home Courtney Vandersloot - your U.S. team needs you to control the floor!
Well the first game is in the books - and it's in the loss column. Not an overall bad effort but not great either. I've read that not much is expected of the Sky this season with so many changes, different leadership and so many new players. I hate this kind of thinking - these are all professional athletes and they should rise to the occasion every time they take the court no matter who they are playing for or who they are playing with... I, for one, am expecting things from this team this year. After all...the Sky's the limit when you play in Chicago.
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