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Sydney Colson joins Sky just in the nick of time

Courtney Vandersloot, who averaged close to a career high in minutes (31.5) in the Sky’s first four games, said Colson’s arrival is “like a breath of fresh air.”

Sydney Colson, who tested positive for the coronavirus in June, joined the Sky at practice Monday for the first time this season.
Sydney Colson, who tested positive for the coronavirus in June, joined the Sky at practice Monday for the first time this season.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Sky guard Sydney Colson entered the “wubble” in Bradenton, Florida, last week after a tough two-and-a-half week bout with the coronavirus.

She was confined to her hotel room for a brief quarantine period, during which she had to test negative for COVID-19 three times as part of the league’s safety policy.

As Colson sat alone in her room, which overlooked the pool, she would watch her teammates have fun without her. But she didn’t have to wait long to join them.

Officials cleared Colson for her first practice of the season Monday.

“It feels glorious,” Colson said. “I just wanted to step outside, get some fresh air. I couldn’t open the window, all I could do is watch my teammates enjoy themselves and laugh, and I didn’t know what they were laughing about.”

Colson arrived just in the nick of time with the Sky (4-1) kicking off a brutal stretch in which they’ll play 10 games in 20 days, starting with Tuesday’s 82-79 win over the Wings.

Azura Stevens, Cheyenne Parker and Allie Quigley each scored 15 points. Courtney Vandersloot had 14. Arike Ogunbowale led the Wings with 26.

Colson played backup minutes behind Vandersloot, who averaged a near career-high 31.5 minutes in the first four games.

“It helps. We’ve tried our best to not run Sloot into the ground, but it’s difficult, especially when you play three one-possession games in the first week,” coach James Wade said. “So it helps give us another person who can put pressure on the ball and slow [opponent’s] rhythm down.”

Vandersloot said Colson’s arrival is “like a breath of fresh air.”

“She’s such a light and has such good energy,” Vandersloot told the Sun-Times Tuesday. “And when you have 10 games in 20 days, that’s the kind of player you want on the team.”

Colson will add another element to the Sky’s fast-pace offense. Starting her seventh WNBA season, Colson has played point guard her entire career and is known for being a high-energy, versatile guard who can help push the tempo and play both ends of the court.

“She’s comfortable handling the ball, she’s comfortable running the team, she’s aggressive, she’s a good defender,” Vandersloot said. “[She’s] somebody that when you [put her] on the floor, I think, good things are going to happen. I think we’ll have a really good rotation with her and I.”

Colson already has some familiarity with her new team. The Sky had weekly team Zoom calls before the season and she would tune into practice via Zoom.

Still, it’ll take Colson some time to adjust and find her rhythm.

Monday was her first time on a basketball court in months, she said.

She ramped up her conditioning in recent weeks after her most severe COVID-19 symptoms, including a cough and intense nausea, subsided. While in her hometown of Houston, Colson was running outside and doing cardio on the treadmill.

When she was stuck in her hotel room, she rode a stationary bike as the team monitored her heart rate.

Physically, Colson said she feels good. Truthfully, though, she doesn’t know how long it will take to get back into the swing of things.

“I don’t know, it’ll be different because this is a new team and I haven’t played with any of these girls before,” said Colson, who averaged 3.3 points and 1.8 assists off the Aces’ bench last season. “But I’ve always liked the way ... they played [last year], and I think it fits my style.”