Sky aren’t panicking, despite league-worst four-game skid

“If you’re looking at it in the scheme of 11 games, then maybe you’ll call it a skid,” Marina Mabrey said. “If you’re looking at it in 40 games, it’s a wave.”

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The Sky’s Marina Mabrey looks to pass during the game Sunday against the Mystics in Washington.

The Sky’s Marina Mabrey looks to pass during the game Sunday against the Mystics in Washington.

Stephen Gosling/Getty Images

There’s no panic in the Sky’s locker room.

They’re mired in a four-game losing streak — the worst in the WNBA — have a loose grip on the final playoff spot and are still searching for cohesion. But are they worried?

According to guard Marina Mabrey, it’s all about perspective.

“If you’re looking at it in the scheme of 11 games, then maybe you’ll call it a skid,” Mabrey said. “If you’re looking at it in 40 games, it’s a wave.”

The Sky are riding out the wave, and to do that successfully, they understand the importance of controlling the controllable. Their mentality is one area they have control over.

“You have to keep the vibe,” Mabrey said. “You have to hold your vibration, your attitude, your positivity and continue to be yourself. Then, you add a little bit more every day.”

Mabrey makes a strong argument. But in a league with a 40-game season, there isn’t a ton of time to recover from a skid like the one the Sky are enduring. Especially for a team that’s still working to establish its identity.

Coach/general manager James Wade’s defensive-minded squad has lacked consistency on that end of the floor. During the skid, the Sky have blamed energy issues but have yet to course-correct.

They started 5-3 and had the fourth-best defensive rating in the league. In their last four games, they’ve dropped to 11th in defense.

The only remedy Wade offered is an obvious one: improved effort.

“We just have to play better,” he said. “If you take out the first two minutes of each half [against the Mystics on Sunday,] we’re plus-9. But we were minus-6 in the first two minutes of the first half and minus-12 in the first three minutes of the second half. So that’s your ballgame right there.”

Part of the Sky’s ability to avoid adverse reactions to the skid is Wade’s emphasis on the process rather than the results.

“Even if we had won all four of these games playing this way, we’d still have stuff to fix,” Wade said.

The Sky’s process has included navigating injuries to two key players — Isabelle Harrison and Rebekah Gardner — and newcomer Morgan Bertsch.

Bertsch returned in the loss against the Mystics and scored a team-high 16 points, but Wade has yet to provide a timeline for Harrison and Gardner. He said Tuesday that both are progressing.

The Sky soon will have no choice but to focus on the results.

Eight games separate them from the All-Star break and midpoint of the season, and all of them except one are against the top half of the league.

Yes, it’s still early, but the fact that a talented Fever squad is nipping at the eighth-place Sky’s heels is telling. The Sky have an opportunity to prove their start to the season was more than just beginner’s luck and an easy schedule.

Their most impressive win so far is against the third-place Liberty on the road. Other than that, they’ve beaten the 11th-place Lynx, last-place Mercury, seventh-place Wings and ninth-place Fever.

Entering the season, the Sky were baffled by preseason projections that had them hovering around 10th place in the league. Right now, they’re playing to those expectations.

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