Are the Sky’s offensive struggles something to be concerned about?
The Sky (5-3) are converting 30.6% of their threes, the team’s lowest mark under coach/GM James Wade’s tenure.
Allie Quigley was one of the last players to leave the Sky’s practice Thursday before the team caught a flight to Atlanta for the game Friday night against the Dream.
The reigning All-Star three-point champion was putting up extra shots, a common sight after any practice. What’s different is the shooting slump Quigley is in.
In the last four games, Quigley has combined to shoot 1-for-13 from three-point range, including being shut out in the last three games. The last time Quigley was held scoreless from behind the arc in three consecutive games in which she took a shot was in 2013.
Shooting more isn’t necessarily the remedy. Quigley said it’s more about remaining confident and believing the next one will fall.
“It’s just about trusting what you’ve done, being ready for the next game and keep shooting,” she said.
In the last two games, the Sky shot 26.3% from three-point range in their win against the Mercury and 16.1% in their loss to the Aces. For the season, the Sky (5-3) are converting 30.6% of their three-point tries, the team’s lowest mark during coach/general manager James Wade’s tenure.
Though she’s struggling from three-point range, Quigley has found offense in other ways, including getting to the rim and drawing contact. She is 14-for-15 from the free-throw line in six games.
Wade attributes some of the team’s struggles on offense to a lack of aggressiveness. After watching film from their three-point win over the Mercury, the Sky saw that they passed up too many uncontested shots.
“It comes down to us having rhythm with each other and trying to play with each other,” Wade said. “You miss an open shot and try to find somebody else, but then they’re shooting a contested shot because you [gave up] an open shot.”
When the Sky signed Emma Meesseman this offseason, it was assumed that the transition from Stefanie Dolson would be seamless given Meesseman’s experience playing with Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot in Russia. There have been brilliant moments with no-look passes and great ball movement, but the Sky have not shown consistency on offense.
“We play in Europe together, and it’s just different,” Vandersloot said of meshing with Meesseman. “We underestimated that going into the season, how coverages are different, athleticism is different. It’s taking us a little bit of time, but I’m willing to bet on us that we’ll figure it out.”
This team’s greatest strength through the first month of the season is its bench production. Despite the struggles on offense, Wade has been able to rely on his second unit to give his starters adequate rest and maintain the level of play.
In the last four games, the Sky’s bench has outscored opposing reserves 112-50. Against the Aces, the Sky’s bench was able to keep the team in the game, bringing it within 13 to start the fourth quarter. The Sky’s bench is third in the league in points per game (22.8) behind the Sun (24.4) and the Dream (22.9).
On multiple occasions, the team has referenced its ability to overcome a seven-game losing streak and a .500 record heading into the playoffs last season to convey confidence in its seasonlong progression. Still without guard Julie Allemand and with Li Yueru just two games into her first WNBA season, it’s clear that the Sky haven’t fully realized their potential.