The Sky are still trying to find their identity. That was evident in their 94-69 loss to the Sparks on Sunday at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The Sky made a statement last week when they beat the then-league-leading Sun at Wintrust Arena. They were polished and locked in. Afterward, they declared themselves the “team to beat.”
But now the Sky (6-6) have lost three consecutive games. They were sloppy and unfocused in their most-lopsided loss of the season. Coach James Wade had one word for the Sky’s effort: “Poor.”
Guard Allie Quigley couldn’t have agreed more.
“We just didn’t come out ready to play,” Quigley told the Sun-Times in a phone interview after the game. “We made a lot of mental mistakes, and I think as the game got away, we kind of got away, too.”
A lot of those mistakes stemmed from shoddy shooting and turnovers. The Sky shot a dismal 25.6 percent from the field in the first half, missing easy jumpers and textbook layups.
Guard Diamond DeShields finished with a game-high 23 points, and guard Kahleah Copper scored a season-high 12. But ultimately, there was no coming back from the hole they dug.
The Sky also allowed 14 turnovers, including one in the first five seconds of the game. The Sparks scored 19 points off turnovers.
Wade said those miscues dictated the momentum of the game.
“Those turnovers, they add an energy one way or another, and it gives them a sixth man when you turn the ball over,” Wade said. “It automatically does. I’m a real proponent of good and bad energy. Turnovers are bad energy for us and good energy for the other team. So when you’re giving that good energy to another team, it’s like they’re playing six on five.”
Wade also believes the Sky have a disconnect on defense.
“It’s like a virus,” Wade said. “You have one person not having trust [that someone will be there for them], and it just bleeds. Now the trust is gone. It’s going to take us awhile to get it back.”
The Sky have one practice to regroup before they head to Las Vegas to play the Aces, who are second in the Western Conference, on Tuesday.
How will they do that?
“[We’ll] just try to learn from the last three games and just get back to the basics and focus on being the best we can be in each possession,” said Quigley, who scored all 10 of her points in the first half. “And not worrying so much, like, ‘Oh, my gosh, we have to win now. We can’t lose again.’ ”