James Wade has Sky playing well with wins in 5 of last 6
By Doug Feinberg
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — After a slow start, first-year coach James Wade has simplified things for the Chicago Sky, and it’s paid off.
The Sky have won five of their last six games, including a victory over the Connecticut Sun.
“You have this vision you want to throw so much at them. Sometimes the best thing is to keep it simple,” Wade said. “Early on we gave them too much information. Recently we’ve kept it simpler. When we see them more comfortable, we’ll add more things to the equation. Simplicity has been the key.”
The offense is flowing with point guard Courtney Vandersloot leading the way. Yet she’s aware the team has gotten off to strong starts only to fade down the stretch.
“We’ve been in this position before, but I think we are better positioned now to continue this throughout the season and not tail off,” she said after the Sky beat New York last week.
A look at this week’s WNBA poll:
1. Connecticut (9-2): Saw its seven-game winning streak end in Chicago as Sun began a three-game trip.
2. Washington (7-3): The Mystics have looked impressive in sweeping the first three games of a four-game road swing, including victories in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
4. Chicago (6-3): Has found a solid rotation with post players Stefanie Dolson, Cheyenne Parker and Jantel Lavender.
6. Seattle (7-4): Faces a big test at Las Vegas on Tuesday before playing the next six games at home.
5. Las Vegas (5-4): Still trying to find consistency on the defensive end.
7. Minnesota (5-5): Ended a four-game losing skid with a victory over New York. Now faces a tired Indiana team on the road.
8. Indiana (5-6): One of the most improved teams this season led by a young core of players, including rookie Teaira McCowan.
2. Los Angeles (4-6): The Sparks are finally healthy with Candace Parker and Alana Beard back from injuries. It hasn’t translated into wins yet as the team has lost four straight.
9. Phoenix (3-5): Ended a three-game skid and hopes to get Diana Taurasi back this week.
10. New York (3-7): Will try to bounce back after scoring 83 points in a pair of losses last week. The Liberty gave up an average of 91.5 points in the defeats.
11. Dallas (2-6): Doubled the win total, beating Phoenix. Will try and string some victories together.
12. Atlanta (2-7): Put together a solid first half against Washington before falling apart in the third quarter.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Elena Delle Donne earned player of the week honors after she helped Washington win all three of its games, averaging 19.7 points, 12 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. Others receiving votes included Vandersloot of Chicago and Natasha Howard of Seattle.
DeWanna Bonner is the only player in the WNBA averaging over 20 points per game this season. Last year, six were over the 20-point mark. Some of that can be attributed to injury as Breanna Stewart (21.8) and Taurasi (20.7) are hurt. Taurasi will return potentially this week, while Stewart is out for the year. Liz Cambage (23 points per game last season) is adjusting to a new team in Las Vegas, and that also might be affecting A’ja Wilson’s scoring. She’s down from 20.7 to 15.8 this year. The last time only one player averaged over 20 points was 2017. Before that, it hadn’t occurred since 2009.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Mystics at Sky, Wednesday. It’s an early kids’ day tip between the second- and third-place teams in the standings.