New player introductions feature group determined to leave own mark on Sky

There are All-Star and championship shoes to fill with the departures of Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley and Azura Stevens, but coach James Wade’s new signees aren’t feeling the pressure.

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Courtney Williams averaged 11.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists as a starter for the Sun last year.

Courtney Williams averaged 11.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists as a starter for the Sun last year.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

A new era of Sky basketball is here, ushered in by the front office’s inability to re-sign the championship core.

But general manager/coach James Wade had a backup plan and fully believes in his new players’ ability to maintain the winning culture he established upon joining the Sky in 2018. In fact, he believes it fervently enough that he dealt three future first-round draft picks and six picks total in a trade for guard Marina Mabrey.

While there are All-Star and championship shoes left to fill with the departures of Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley and Azura Stevens, Wade’s new signees aren’t feeling the pressure.

Here’s what they had to say upon being introduced as the future of the organization:

Courtney Williams

guard, one-year protected veteran contract ($160,000)

Williams joins the Sky after a season with the Connecticut Sun during which she averaged 11.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

‘‘For me personally, I don’t feel any pressure,’’ Williams said. ‘‘We all tie our shoes up the same way. I’m a star, too; [Isabelle Harrison is] a star, too. You put us in position, we’re going to excel and become Chicago stars, too.’’

Isabelle Harrison

forward, two-year protected veteran contract ($160,000, $160,000)

Harrison is coming off four seasons with the Dallas Wings. She averaged 8.7 points and 4.3 rebounds last season.

‘‘Whoever made the decision to leave, that’s on them,’’ Harrison said. ‘‘I’m glad it opened up the door for me and Court to come in and do something special and new with Chicago. We play against these guys all the time. Whoever might have whatever name attached to them, but we still know how to play. I’ve played against every player in this league and have done well.’’

Elizabeth Williams

center/forward, two-year protected veteran contract ($135,000, $135,000)

Williams spent last season with the Washington Mystics after playing six seasons with the Atlanta Dream and one with the Sun. She averaged 5.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in 2022.

‘‘The pieces that have been put together are people that constantly play with chips on their shoulder,’’ Williams said. ‘‘Marina is known for being a competitor, someone you want on your team and not someone that you’re playing against. We have people like Courtney, Izzy just adding to that mentality of, ‘I’m going to come in and compete at the highest level.’ For championship teams, you need a little bit of that. You need something that you feel you have to prove.’’

Marina Mabrey

guard, three-year protected veteran contract ($202,000, $208,000, $210,000)

Mabrey is a combo guard who played the last three seasons with Harrison in Dallas. She averaged 13.6 points, 3.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds last season.

‘‘We have a lot of high-energy players,’’ Mabrey said. ‘‘The way they play and the attitude they bring is exciting to play with. I fit right in with that. Then just being able to go there and try to win as much as we can. We have a lot of people that know how to win and want to win. We do a lot of dirty work and details that don’t go unnoticed. Playing with people like that, players willing to make another play and play as hard as they can, is what I was attracted to.’’

Alanna Smith

forward, one-year unprotected contract ($100,000)

Smith was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury with the eighth pick in 2019. After spending the first three seasons of her career with them, she signed a training-camp contract with the Indiana Fever in 2022. She appeared in nine games for the Fever last season and averaged 4.3 points and 2.7 rebounds.

‘‘It’s been a bit of a rocky road with the WNBA, to be honest,’’ Smith said. ‘‘It’s really taught me to value myself as a player no matter what happens. I know that I can compete. I know what I can bring. Sometimes things don’t work out, don’t go your way. It’s about resilience, grit and putting your head down and working harder to prove people wrong.’’

Astou Ndour-Fall

center/forward, one-year unprotected contract ($115,000)

Ndour-Fall returns to the Sky after opting out of the 2022 season. She was a key player off the bench during the team’s title run in 2021, averaging 6.6 points and 4.8 rebounds.

‘‘Everybody knows Chicago was my home,’’ Ndour-Fall said. ‘‘I know coach James and my teammates. I like the city and the fans and feel so comfortable playing there and being myself. I’ve known James since Day 1 in the league. He knows me and knows the important things I can bring to the team.’’

NOTE: All salary figures were gathered at HerHoopStats.com.

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