Sky open camp with 14 players on training-camp contracts and two roster spots

Thirteen players were set to arrive for Day 1 of camp, including Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, Emma Meesseman, Azura Stevens and Dana Evans.

SHARE Sky open camp with 14 players on training-camp contracts and two roster spots
Sky coach/general manager James Wade said he’s approaching training camp with an open mind.

Sky coach/general manager James Wade said he’s approaching training camp with an open mind.

Paul Beaty/AP

Training camp begins Sunday for the Sky, who will practice on a new court at Sachs Recreation Center in Deerfield.

From 1986 to 1991, the Bulls practiced at the health club, and the court was still adorned with their logo until this year. The Sky were to hold a small ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday to unveil the court designed solely for them.

“[The new court] makes us feel more at home,” coach James Wade said. “We had a Sky logo on the floor, but everything was Bulls. It hadn’t changed. Now you’ll see it’s ours. It’s amazing.”

Thirteen players were set to arrive for Day 1 of camp, including Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, Emma Meesseman, Azura Stevens and Dana Evans.

The Sky enter camp with one of the most solidified rosters in the league. After re-signing the core and adding Meesseman and Julie Allemand, their priority is finding players who can complement that group.

Wade signed Li Yueru to a rookie-scale contract last week, but she won’t be in camp. Whether the Chinese Basketball Federation will permit her to play in the WNBA this season is unclear. That leaves the Sky with two open spots and 14 training-camp players.

“We’re going to keep an open mind about everything that we do with the exception of our core,” Wade said.

After dealing Diamond DeShields to the Mercury in a three-team sign-and-trade that brought Allemand from the Fever, the Sky’s depth at the wing took a hit. Finals MVP Kahleah Copper will arrive at camp late because of overseas commitments. Another two-way shooting guard who can stretch the floor and complement Quigley likely will fill one of the final spots.

Two intriguing options are Kaela Davis and Rebekah Gardner. Both will arrive late. Davis has four years of WNBA experience, last playing in just two games for the Dream in 2020. In her three seasons with the Wings from 2017 to ’19, she averaged 5.7 points, 1.5 assists, two rebounds and 17 minutes in 93 games.

Gardner is on her first WNBA contract since going undrafted out of UCLA in 2012. She has competed professionally overseas and is playing for Spar Citylift Girona, a Spanish club. Gardner has averaged 15 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, two steals and 27.5 minutes in 22 games this season.

Lastly, Imani McGee-Stafford could crack Wade’s 11-player roster if Li can’t participate this season. The Sky have great depth in the frontcourt but lost size with the departures of 6-foot-5-inchStefanie Dolson in free agency and Astou Ndour-Fall, who opted to sit out the season.

“[Training camp] is going to be intense,” Wade said. “I want us to have a sense of urgency from Day 1. All the players haven’t won championships. [Some players] have enough cachet where some things are not going to be demanded of them on Day 1. For everybody else, it’s about how can you complement those players.”

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