Sitting in 9th place, Sky know they must fix some problems quickly

It’s early, but the Sky, who’ve lost four in a row, are outside of the playoff picture.

SHARE Sitting in 9th place, Sky know they must fix some problems quickly
Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon (second from left) talks with assistant coaches (from left) Sydney Johnson, Weatherspoon, Crystal Robinson, and Tamera "Ty" Young.

Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon (second from left) talks with assistant coaches (from left) Sydney Johnson, Weatherspoon, Crystal Robinson, and Tamera “Ty” Young, in a game against the Sun on June 12 at Wintrust Arena.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Nearly five weeks into the WNBA season, things are beginning to take shape.

The Liberty have found their stride, winning a league-best eight straight games entering Tuesday — a sign that Year 2 of their super-team approach could result in them becoming the last of the original eight WNBA teams to win the championship.

Reigning coach of the year Stephanie White had the Sun, led by 2023 MVP runner-up Alyssa Thomas, humming at 12-1 entering Tuesday, the best record in the league. Meanwhile, the back-to-back champion Aces are .500, with as many losses in the first five weeks of this season as they had all last season.

Coach Cheryl Reeve is making fools of anyone who predicted the Lynx would be a bottom-tier team. They’re No. 3 in the league at 11-3 with two former Sky players — guard Courtney Williams and forward Alanna Smith — and forward Napheesa Collier, who already belongs in MVP discussions.

Sure, it’s early, but outside the playoff picture looking in are the Sky.

“We just had a heck of a practice,” Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon said Tuesday morning. “We’re pleased with where we are.”

Where they were was ninth in the standings, riding a four-game losing streak.

“We’ve worked on a lot of things that we need to be better with,” Weatherspoon said. “We recognize we need to be better.”

Ahead of a 91-83 loss to the Fever on Sunday, Weatherspoon addressed the team’s biggest cause for concern — first-quarter lulls — by switching up her starting five, inserting guards Lindsay Allen and Chennedy Carter in place of guard Dana Evans and swing player Diamond DeShields.

The results were significant. After averaging 19.2 first-quarter points through the first 12 games, the Sky scored 26 in the first 10 minutes Sunday.

However, other concerns remain. The Sky are averaging 20.7 fouls per game, the most in the league. They committed six in the fourth quarter Sunday.

Simple inexperience is another issue. Late in games, especially, the Sky are failing to execute the plays that Weatherspoon is drawing up.

“We were a super-new team,” guard Marina Mabrey said Sunday. “That’s not an excuse, but there are some growing pains. Executing down the stretch, what the coach draws up, individually so that we as a team can succeed — it’s important.”

Weatherspoon and Mabrey both suggested the poor execution and breakdowns were a result of players flat-out blanking.

“No. 1, maybe just forgetting what you’re supposed to do,” Mabrey said.

The Sky will close out the first half with seven of nine games against opponents in the top half of the league. Regaining playoff positioning starts with getting needed wins against the Wings (11th in the standings) and the Fever (eighth).

Latest on the Sky and WNBA
What most refuse to see is the beauty of the skin she chooses to live in. A skin at this point millions-on-millions thought she’d shed like most other Black athletes when their fame introduces itself to fortune.
Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale was named the MVP after scoring 34 points, all of which came in the second half and were the most points scored in a WNBA All-Star Game.
Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark are the lone rookies making their All-Star debuts in Phoenix.

The Latest
Milazzo learned to be resilient after a major college injury, and that trait has served her well in professional soccer.
Prairie State Conservation Coalition is stepping up to assume a major role in funding conservation projects for land acquisition, land stewardship and organization capacity building (organizational infrastructure).
Though her parenting tips conflict with what the experts say, she insists she’s right because she was a nurse (but she really wasn’t).
Tamia Washington, 18, is charged with robbery. She joins four adolescents — ages 11, 14, 15 and 16 — who are charged with aggravated battery and robbery stemming from the July 8 attack on a man in the Loop.