The Sky made a statement heard around the WNBA with their 93-75 victory Sunday against the Sun at Wintrust Arena. It was a declaration that they’re a force to be reckoned with.
After what they called an ‘‘embarrassing’’ home loss Friday to the Fever, the Sky (6-3) rebounded to beat the top team in the WNBA. And it wasn’t even close.
The Sky dominated the game out of the gate and didn’t waver. They led by as many as 24 points and held Sun center Jonquel Jones, one of the best scorers in the league, to 11 points.
‘‘It just emphasizes what we already know, which is that we’re the team to beat,’’ said Sky forward Cheyenne Parker, who scored a career-high 22 points. ‘‘I don’t think everyone realizes the potential that this team has, and we haven’t even reached our maximum potential yet.’’
The victory spoke volumes about how far the Sky have come in a short time.
In March, point guard Courtney Vandersloot said the Sky lacked a ‘‘winning culture’’ last season and got ‘‘a little bit too comfortable’’ at times. Guard Allie Quigley has said she thought the Sky underachieved the last few seasons.
But this season is different, in part because of coach James Wade, who has made it clear complacency won’t be tolerated.
Wade has talked about creating a championship mentality in the Sky’s locker room. He does it by assuring his players it’s OK to make mistakes.
‘‘He’s the most confident in us than anyone, even ourselves,’’ said Vandersloot, who scored 13 points and handed out seven assists. ‘‘I look over at him after I turn the ball over, while most other coaches I’m looking the other way. He’s going to be, like: ‘It’s all right. You got this.’ And that’s huge when you’re playing for someone where you can play fearless.‘‘
Parker said she thinks Wade slowly has been changing the Sky’s culture. He has high but attainable expectations.
‘‘There’s not shortcuts, and he makes it very clear that that’s what a championship team does,’’ Parker said. ‘‘It’s a mentality, and I think he’s helped us grow mentally and be a lot tougher.’’
After the game, Vandersloot walked into the locker room and reminded her teammates the Mystics are next. The Sky haven’t beaten the Mystics since trading 2015 WNBA most valuable player Elena Delle Donne to them before the 2017 season.
‘‘We owe them big time,’’ Vandersloot said. ‘‘We know they’ve been kicking our butts the last couple of seasons. So we’re going to enjoy this [victory] because we worked hard enough to enjoy this, but then we’re going to go back to the drawing board and see what we can do to beat Washington [at home Wednesday].’’