The Sky’s second game of the season at Wintrust Arena was expected to be an opportunity to execute and defend entire possessions. Instead, the Sky failed to defend the pick and roll, and they looked similar to the team fans saw Sunday except with an added inability to score early.
And so, they fell to the Atlanta Dream 90-83 for their second consecutive loss, a result of poor perimeter defense, missed rebounds and a failure to create in transition.
The Dream shot 44.4% from behind the arc two days after the Liberty shot 50% from long range.
The Sky also were held to 33 first-half points, their lowest total of the season and the first time they trailed at halftime.
“We just missed shots,” said Kahleah Copper, who scored a team-high 21 points.
The Dream had the Sky’s number all game long, picking off passes and shutting down their transition offense. Coming out of the half, the Sky looked equally as disconnected as they did in the first half.
The Dream’s aggressive defense led to 21 Sky turnovers.
Tiffany Hayes had a game-high 26 points and shot 60% from three for the Dream.
“Atlanta was able to get on the offensive boards which stopped us in transition,” said Diamond DeShields (17 points).
Wade said before the game he wanted to see rookie Shyla Heal settle in but that was not the case against the Dream. Heal looked severely outmatched at times and finished with three turnovers in 11 minutes.
Through the first four games of the season, the Sky’s defensive struggles of the past were very much present.
After Tuesday’s game, the Sky are 11th in points allowed off turnovers and 10th in second-chance points given up. Against the Dream limiting turnovers and playing defense through the possession were two priorities and they failed to do both.
Next up, the Sky host the 0-2 Los Angeles Sparks at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Sparks are 12th in the league in points allowed off of fast breaks, giving up 16.9 per game. This is something the Sky could exploit as they are the third-best team in the league in fast-break offense scoring 15% of their points off fast-break opportunities.
It’s the first of a two-game series against the Sparks that concludes Sunday. The Sky play in Los Angeles on June 5. While fans are eager to see Parker suit up against her old team, Wade hasn’t given any indication that she’ll be ready to go Friday.
He said she hasn’t been practicing with the team since spraining her ankle on May 19.
Allie Quigley is progressing Wade said. She isn’t in any pain but they want to take their time with her return. Similar to Parker, Wade said he doesn’t have a timeline on when she’ll return. They are taking their time to make sure that when they both do return, they return at 100%.
“We have our back against the wall a little bit,” Copper said. “This is just building our character.”
With a late three-pointer, Courtney Vandersloot surpassed Allie Quigley for the most career points in Sky team history with 3,002 points.