Courtney Vandersloot, Kahleah Copper and Emma Meesseman are Sky’s latest All-Stars
The trio will join Candace Parker when the WNBA All-Star Game is played at Wintrust Arena.
The Sky will be well-represented in the 2022 WNBA All-Star Game at Wintrust Arena after Courtney Vandersloot, Kahleah Copper and Emma Meesseman were announced as reserves, joining seven-time All-Star Candace Parker and general manager/coach James Wade.
Parker was named a starter last week and Wade the coach of the All-Star team drafted by Breanna Stewart and co-captain Sylvia Fowles. Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon will lead the team drafted by A’ja Wilson, who received the most fan votes, and her co-captain Sue Bird.
Wilson and Stewart will draft their teams Saturday, starting with the pool of starters before selecting from the reserves.
The Aces and Sky each had four players selected. The Aces, however, had three players named starters — Wilson, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young — and Dearica Hamby.
This marks Vandersloot’s fourth All-Star nod (also 2011, 2019, 2021) and the second for Copper (2021) and Meesseman (2015).
“This is my second home,” Copper said. “To do it in Chicago [and] to have our fans come out and support us would mean a lot. We deserve it. We’ve played such good basketball. We have such good players individually, and we find a way to put it all together and play together.”
The Sky also were nominated for three ESPY awards Tuesday: Best Team,Best Athlete, Women’s Sports (Parker) and Best WNBA Player (Parker).
Copper participated in practice in a limited capacity Tuesday after an injury to her back coming off the team’s three-game road trip.
She said she was mostly just dealing with some soreness and will be joining some of her veteran peers for extra treatment before practice and games to proactively manage her pain. She played 5-on-5 to end the practice and appeared to be moving without pain.
“I have to come in a little earlier,” Copper said. “I have to activate and join the old people crew. It’s been a big year, from playing here, winning a championship, going to Spain and coming right back and getting back at it. It’s important for me to take care of my body.”
Copper and assistant coach Emre Vatansever said her availability for the game against the Connecticut Sun at 11 a.m. Wednesday will be a game-time decision. Vatansever is filling in for Wade, who was put in the health and safety protocols Sunday.
League’s guidelines stipulate that Wade will be cleared to return after producing two negative tests at least 24 hours apart. According to the team’s media availability schedule, though, Vatansever will be handling pregame media ahead of the game Saturday against the Phoenix Mercury. This signals that the Sky expect Wade to be away from the team for the remainder of the week.
The Sky are coming off a three-game winning streak that included a history-making comeback against the Aces.
All season, Wade and his team have been adamant that the team’s rhythm would take time to develop with the new additions of Meesseman, Rebekah Gardner and Julie Allemand as well as the late arrival of Copper. Over the last three games, the Sky have the best net rating (12.9) in the league.
With four games remaining before the All-Star break, the Sky are one game behind the Aces in league standings, and they feel they have yet to play their best basketball.
“I think we’ve shown flashes of greatness,” Copper said. “I think you haven’t seen the best. We’re getting really close.”