Sky guard Marina Mabrey will arrive at camp fresh off Italian league championship

The Sky acquired Mabrey, a restricted free agent, in a four-team trade during the offseason and signed her to a three-year deal.

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Marina Mabrey, left, dives for the ball against Courtney Vandersloot during a Euroleague playoff game last month.

Marina Mabrey, left, dives for the ball against Courtney Vandersloot during a Euroleague playoff game last month.

Michal Cizek/AFP via Getty Images

Sky coach/general manager James Wade has a distinct memory of guard Marina Mabrey from his days coaching Ekaterinburg in Russia.

His team, a powerhouse at the time, was undefeated and was matched against a winless team. By any measure, it should have been a cakewalk. Mabrey made sure it was anything but.

‘‘She had just got off a plane the night before,’’ Wade said. ‘‘She kicked our butts. That was our first loss, and we weren’t supposed to lose to that team. She’s been that type of explosive player when she gets going.’’

Wade’s new backcourt addition will arrive at camp Thursday fresh off an Italian league championship victory in which she scored 37 points and was named the MVP of the finals.

Also Thursday, the Sky will travel to Dallas for their first preseason game at 7 p.m. Friday. Wade said Mabrey won’t travel with the team for the game after making the trip to Chicago from Italy. Instead, she will complete a physical and begin working with Sky staff.

Wade said he had Mabrey marked as a player of interest since coaching against her overseas. The Sky acquired Mabrey, a restricted free agent, in a four-team trade during the offseason and signed her to a three-year deal.

Three days into camp, the identity Wade is establishing with his new roster is starting to come into focus. Defense is an emphasis, and after Wade signed a slew of players he characterized as having a chip on their shoulder, the Sky isn’t lacking the willpower to compete on that end of the floor.

The Sky finished practice with a familiar defensive drill Wednesday. Wade put 35 seconds on the clock and challenged each unit to get 35 seconds’ worth of stops. If they gave up a basket or offensive rebound, the clock started back at the top. The Sky’s second group got the clock down to two seconds before allowing the practice squad to score on them.

The purpose of the drill, Wade said, is for his players to learn to save themselves.

‘‘If you don’t get stops, you stay on the floor,’’ Wade said. ‘‘It puts pressure on you to get stops and get a rebound. It rewards all of the little things that we love.’’

Also Wednesday, the WNBA announced a number of rules changes that will take effect this season, including a highly anticipated coach’s challenge.

Each coach will have one challenge per game, including overtime, regardless of whether it’s successful. The challenge can be used to review three events: a foul called on their team, an out-of-bounds violation or a goaltending/basket-interference violation.

To initiate a challenge, a team immediately must call a full timeout and its coach must twirl an index finger in the direction of the referees and verbally acknowledge the call being challenged.

‘‘[Assistant] Emre [Vatansever] is probably going to be the person that tells me to use it or not,’’ Wade said. ‘‘[Assistant] Tonya [Edwards] is going to make sure I don’t use it [too early.]’’

Other rules changes include a heightened penalty for defensive players committing fouls in transition, a modification to the resumption-of-play procedures and updates to bench conduct.

A notable aspect of the change to bench conduct is the requirement that players on the bench won’t be permitted to stand at or away from the bench during the game for an extended period of time. The updates don’t indicate what constitutes a prolonged period. Coaches are prohibited from trying to distract opponents.

‘‘I don’t have any thoughts [on the rule changes,]’’ Wade said. ‘‘I’m focused on players right now.’’

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