Within a day of losing Stefanie Dolson to the New York Liberty, the Sky secured her replacement: 2019 Finals MVP Emma Meesseman.
A league source told the Sun-Times that Meesseman has agreed to a deal with the Sky, but the terms were not disclosed. She can’t officially enter into a contract until Tuesday, the first day of the free-agent signing period.
Long before free agency began, Dolson talked about the challenge of possibly leaving a team she helped lead to a championship. She even discussed the possibility of taking a team-friendly deal if the situation was right.
In Chicago, Dolson was the perfect pick-and-roll player alongside Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley. Her reliable three-point shot helped the Sky space the floor and run coach James Wade’s offense efficiently. Beyond what she brought the team on the court, Wade talked abundantly about the energy Dolson provided off the court. She was a locker room player that the Sky needed.
Sunday, Dolson agreed to terms on a multiyear deal with the Liberty, a league source confirmed to the Sun-Times. With her departure, the Sky were officially tasked with finding a suitable replacement.
The Sky have been pursuing Meeseman throughout the 2022 free agency period. When the team announced WNBA champion and former teammate of Meeseman’s, Ann Wauters, would be joining the coaching staff the acquisition’s potential grew.
Although there were questions about how the Sky would make it work with Meesseman considering her last contract was a veteran max worth $215,000, Wade got it done along with 2021 WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper’s deal. Wade used the core designation on Copper on Jan. 12 and Monday she agreed to terms on a two-year deal with the Sky.
The Sky’s roster is beginning to take shape with Meesseman and Copper joining the Sky’s four contracted players: Candace Parker, Azurá Stevens, Ruthy Hebard and Dana Evans. Re-signing Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley is a top priority for Wade who said this offseason as long as those two are playing he wants to be their coach.
Both are teammates of Meesseman’s overseas with UMMC Ekaterinburg.
The Sky are looking to become the third team in WNBA history to win back-to-back titles and the first since the Los Angeles Sparks (2001-2002). Assuming Vandersloot and Quigley return for the 2022 season, the Sky’s chances are strong.
Wade’s starting lineup could look a myriad of ways. Meesseman could join Candace Parker in the frontcourt, or Wade could use Stevens in the starting five and have Copper replace Quigley at shooting guard for a bigger lineup.
Meesseman sat out the 2021 WNBA season due to overload but averaged 13 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 20 games for the Mystics in 2020. The seven-year WNBA veteran is averaging 11.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in her career thus far.