Even in defeats, coach Amber Stocks likes Sky’s unity

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Coach Amber Stocks instructs her team during a game in Los Angeles. | Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

During a three-game trip that saw them lose in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Seattle, the closest the Sky came to a victory was a 96-85 defeat Tuesday against the Storm.

Yet the three defeats to the top three teams in the Western Conference had plenty of value for coach Amber Stocks and her team. Stocks said she was able to learn something about her young and still-developing roster.

‘‘This Chicago Sky squad is not a group of basketball players; we really are a team,’’ Stocks told the media Tuesday in Seattle. ‘‘A united, bonded, connected team with a strong passion for basketball and a strong passion for each other.’’

Stocks is encouraged by how the Sky (3-6) have developed that kind of camaraderie less than a month into the season. During an interview Wednesday, she credited her players for ‘‘choosing to invest emotionally in each other and the franchise.’’

But there have been growing pains for the Sky, who have lost six of their last seven games.

‘‘We really have a unique situation in that we have several specialty players,’’ Stocks said. ‘‘One thing that this road trip taught us was, first and foremost, stay together. We’re more powerful together than we are individually. That said, give each person the support to let that one special thing that they do well shine through.’’


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That means getting Courtney Vandersloot space to create offense or take the right shot, finding ways to spring Allie Quigley for open jumpers or giving Diamond DeShields the ball so she can drive with momentum.

‘‘It’s one thing when I see that or appreciate that as a coach,’’ Stocks said. ‘‘But it takes the team to another level when the players see, appreciate and want their teammates put in the best position for the team. That showed itself this weekend.’’

Speaking to the media after the Sky was outscored 31-12 in the fourth quarter Tuesday, Quigley was blunt about the educational value of the trip.

‘‘I think we learned what not to do,’’ she said. ‘‘We learned about all of the mistakes we can’t really continue to make if we want to get any wins in this league.

‘‘We’ve really been analyzing what are the good things we need to keep doing, and we did a lot of those [Tuesday]. But it just wasn’t enough in that fourth quarter when they came back.’’

The Sky will host the Sparks at 5 p.m. Sunday at Wintrust Arena.

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