Sky set franchise record with seven straight wins and they’re ‘not done yet’
With Parker on the floor, the team is 8-0 and has the best offensive rating (109.9) in the league
Early in the 2021 WNBA season, in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, Sky coach and general manager James Wade laughed when asked about the depth of his team.
Yes, the Sky were without Candace Parker and Allie Quigley, who were battling injury, and Stefanie Dolson, who was playing in the USA 3x3 qualifying tournament in Austria, but the team he constructed had depth.
The Sky just needed a little time to put it all together and now that they have, they (9-7) have flipped a seven-game losing streak into a seven-game winning streak, a franchise record.
“When we put this team together we planned on utilizing everybody,” Wade said.
In the team’s 91-68 road victory over the Liberty on Thursday night no player logged more than 28 minutes and five finished in double figures for the eighth time. With Parker on the floor, the team is 8-0 and has the best offensive rating (109.9) in the league.
Although it’s easy to spot Parker’s immediate impact on the Sky’s winning ways, Quigley’s return has been just as significant. In her 13th season, Quigley’s made the transition from a starter to being first off the bench and has delivered. She has averaged 12.3 points and has shot 43.2% on threes in 10 games.
Quigley has scored in double figures in all seven games of this streak. She put up a season-high 23 points on 100% shooting from beyond the arc in the 105-89 victory over the Lynx last week.
The Sky have scored at least 81 points with Quigley and Parker back on the court.
“Our depth is ridiculous,” Kahleah Copper said. “We have Allie Quigley coming off the bench! We have Astou [Ndour-Fall] coming back and I just think that’s really scary for the future.”
Ndour-Fall will return to the Sky from the EuroBasket next week. Wade said she will have to go through the WNBA’s COVID-19 protocol, so it’s unclear if she’ll play in either game against the Wings.
The Sky’s hot streak has them second in the Eastern Conference behind the Sun, who they will play on Sunday, and fourth in the league’s overall standings.
The game Sunday is the third of a five-game road trip that concludes in Dallas next Friday. They play the Mystics at home on July 10 in their last game before the Olympic break.
When the Sky return to play in August, they’ll face one of their biggest challenges of the season in the first-place Storm. Between now and then they will have four games and more than a month to fine-tune the little things. Wade said he wants to see the team iron out mistakes on defense that need to be corrected.
Diamond DeShields wrote the phrase “just have fun” on her sneakers ahead of one of the team’s recent victories. DeShields, who has averaged 13 points as the Sky’s third-best scorer, said she wants to be known as more than a scorer. With this roster, she’s able to do that.
There’s no pressure being placed on single players to carry the scoring load in games because the expectation is that any of them can. With six players averaging in double figures, opponents have to pick their poison when it comes to defending this Sky team. From top to bottom, anyone on this roster is capable of shooting lights out.
That makes it easy to “just have fun.”
“The best part of our offense is we have so many willing passers,” Wade said. “That’s the key.”