Despite not having last year’s WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne in the lineup tonight due to illness, the talented Chicago Sky squad put a hurtin’ on the Connecticut Sun in the 2016 season opener for both teams. Up by 20 at the half, the Sky never looked back playing tough defense and spreading the scoring around to most of the team including their talented bench. Tonight’s final Sky 93, Sun 70.
The Sky also spoiled the coaching debut for the Sun’s Curt Miller who is inheriting a team that finished tied for last in the Eastern Conference last year while missing the playoffs in a franchise-worst third consecutive season. The Sun had two of the top four draft picks – taking Morgan Tuck out of UConn and Rachel Banham out of Minnesota. Tuck was the last of three players selected from the University of Connecticut’s 2016 championship squad following Breanna Stewart and Moriah Jefferson. Banham was the nation’s second-leading scorer (28.6 points per game) in 2015-16 and had 3,093 career points for Minnesota, including 60 in a win at Northwestern on Feb. 7.
The Sky welcomed 6’7″ rookie center Imani Boyette to the lineup tonight coming off the bench scoring 4 points and getting 5 rebounds in just over 8 minutes of play. I must say she has a most unique free throw shooting technique – not sure if it’s good or bad as she scored 2 out of 4 attempts at the free throw line. Need to look up her college stats at Texas – okay so she’s not that great as her career totals at Texas were 174 made out of 264. Appreciated getting to see Rachel Banham play live even though she came off the bench – a scoring machine at Minnesota, Banham scored 13 points in just 15 minutes of play tonight almost leading her entire team in scoring even though she came off the bench. The Sun’s Alex Bentley scored 14 leading the Sun yet she played nearly 30 minutes. It’s for sure going to be fun watching Banham develop as a WNBA player. If I was new Sun coach Curt Miller I’d really be mulling over making Banham a starter even though she’s a rookie – yes, she’s that good.
Here’s to our Chicago Sky – who spread the scoring out nicely among 11 players on the team with Point Guard Courtney Vandersloot leading all scorers with 14 followed by Chicago’s hometown favorite Cappie Pondexter scoring 13. Elena – we all missed seeing you tonight and hope you feel better soon but kudos to your teammates who made the season opener a REAL WINNER!
p.s. – when you’re a member of the media, you get to go into the media room before every game and they even feed you which is really nice. Tonight we had some delicious pasta from Noodles & Co. Turns out there were no forks left when I got there so I tried eating the pasta with the little plastic spoon they gave me and it was quite an ordeal! It is not easy eating long noodles with a little plastic spoon but as the saying goes – my kingdom for a SPORK!!! No worries – I didn’t starve to death – being the creative and hungry sort I kept smashing the noodles with the edge of the plastic spoon and chopped them up pretty good! Now that’s using your NOODLE!
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