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Cheyenne Parker’s dominant performance leads Sky to victory over Storm

Everything was clicking for Parker in the Sky’s 78-71 win at Wintrust Arena.

Cheyenne Parker dropped 18 points in the Sky’s second win of the season.
Chicago Sky

Everything was clicking Sunday for forward Cheyenne Parker in the Sky’s 78-71 victory against the Storm at Wintrust Arena.

Perhaps center Stefanie Dolson explained Parker’s impressive performance best, saying: ‘‘[Parker] was feeling it today.’’

Parker notched her first double-double of the season, scoring a team-high 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. She also sank her first three-pointer of the season.

‘‘My mindset is to shoot if I’m open, not to hesitate, to be confident with it,’’ Parker said after the Sky improved to 2-2 with their second home victory, both against the Storm.

Coach James Wade knew it was only a matter of time before Parker had a breakout game.

‘‘She dominated the game,’’ Wade said. ‘‘That’s what we needed from her. She works hard. We just want her to reward herself by seeing it out there when she’s on the floor during game time.’’

Wade said he was especially proud of Parker’s aggressive rebounding, which was a point of emphasis at practice last week. The Sky outrebounded the Storm 45-22.

Parker said this is the best she has felt physically since being drafted fifth overall by the Sky in 2015. She attributed that to playing professionally in South Korea during the offseason. Parker had two three-hour practices every day with few days off.

‘‘It was really, really intense; I hated it,’’ Parker previously told the Sun-Times. ‘‘But it ended up turning me into the athlete that I’ve been trying to get back to being.’’

Parker, who has lost nearly 30 pounds in the last few seasons, also focused more on her nutrition and on eating a more balanced diet. (The Sky don’t have a nutritionist on staff.)

The result? A faster, stronger and more agile Parker.

‘‘Pushing my body to the next level helped me kind of find what I’m capable of doing, how far I can push myself, and it helped me just physically get in the best shape possible,’’ said Parker, who helped the Sky outscore the Storm 35-9 off the bench.

‘‘I want the bench to push the starters,’’ Wade said. ‘‘I want them to make it harder for me to put [the starters] back in, which they actually did tonight. It was kind of hard to take them out. That’s a good problem. I wish I had that problem every day.’’

The Sky held a 26-point lead at one point in the first half, but it dwindled in part because of poor ballhandling, which has been a constant problem this season. The Sky, who average the second-most turnovers in the league, finished with 20 turnovers — 17 of them in the last three quarters.

Wade said that’s unacceptable. And he’s not allowing his team to use youth as an excuse.

‘‘We turned it over, and it gave them fast-break points and points in the paint,’’ Wade said. ‘‘And it actually helped them get back in the game and kept the game competitive. I think if we don’t turn the ball over, it’s hard for them to get back into the game.’’