The Chicago Sky have been building up to this time of year all season. After becoming the first sixth seed to win a championship last year, the team’s focus has been centered around bringing another trophy back to the city. The Sky have the talent to do it and their pursuit of a championship will start up again on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. CT. Here are five reasons to tune into the rest of the Sky’s 2022 playoff run.
Chicago has a chance to make history
There have been plenty of dominant teams in WNBA history but none of them have been able to repeat as champions since the 2001-2002 Los Angeles Sparks. The Sky turned heads last year when they underachieved in the regular season before going on an improbable playoff run resulting in the organization’s first championship.
Now, Chicago has a chance to make history. The team went 26-10 in the regular season and finds itself up against the Connecticut Sun in the semifinals. The Sky not only beat the Sun in last year’s semifinals but also swept them in their regular season series. If Chicago can replicate their previous performances against Connecticut, they will be Finals bound once again.
Kahleah Copper’s dominance
There’s a reason why Candace Parker has called Sky teammate Kahleah Copper the “worldwide MVP.” After being named the 2021 Finals MVP, Copper went on to win EuroLeague MVP and was named an all-star for a second straight season this year. Her acrobatics getting to the rim have made her must-see television any time the Sky are on primetime.
Copper leads the team in scoring and can score at all three levels. Fans who haven’t seen her athleticism up close are missing out on one of the premier players in the WNBA.
Candace Parker’s potential “last dance”
WNBA legends Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles, rightfully, have been getting all of the attention about their impending retirements at the end of the season but this could be Parker’s last dance as well. While she has stated she is keeping an open mind about what is to come, the two-time MVP said at the start of the season she is going into the year with the mindset she will retire.
Parker certainly isn’t playing like someone who is past their prime. In three games this postseason, she is averaging 13.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. For a team with one of the deepest rosters in the league, Parker has made the most of the Sky’s pass-happy offense. Her excellence has transcended her age this year. However, anything can happen after this year given all of the success she has had in her WNBA and business careers.
Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley, AKA: The Vanderquigs
Vandersloot and Quigley, who are married and have been teammates since 2013, have enjoyed another campaign where they have dominated on the offensive end. Quigley became the first WNBA or NBA player to win four 3-point contests while Vandersloot recently became the WNBA’s third all-time leader in career assists. As they displayed in Game 3 in the first round, whenever they are going, the rest of the team follows.
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The Sky will face current and future WNBA legends
Chicago has plenty of stars on its roster but their opponents aren’t short on starpower either. Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones won MVP last year and is a lethal scorer when she gets going on offense. Her teammate Alyssa Thomas also could end up on an All-WNBA team this year despite playing the last few years with two torn labrums. The combo of those two factors along with the rest of the Sun’s roster is worth tuning into.
If the Sky beat the Sun in the semifinals, they will play either the Seattle Storm or the Las Vegas Aces. If Chicago gets Seattle, fans will have a chance to watch Bird go after one last championship in the twilight of her career. Seattle forward Breanna Stewart has talent and accolades to potentially go down as the greatest WNBA player of all-time depending on how the rest of her career plays out. The Aces could also take down the Storm on the other side of the bracket, where former MVP A’ja Wilson and her supporting cast pose the greatest threat to Chicago’s chances to repeat.
No matter who the Sky play, there are some all-time greats going against them on the hardwood.
At various levels of investment, The Sky has over 25 corporate sponsors this year. Their 2022 Marquee Partners includes the Magellan Corporation — who also doubles as the Sky’s fellow presenter of the Sky Cares Foundation — as well as UChicago Medicine.
Also in the mix are the team’s Official Partners which consists of local and national companies, including, Horizon, the official biotech partner; Marquee, the official broadcast partner; Crown Royal, the official spirit; Wintrust, the official debit and bank card; O’Hare and Midway, the official airports; United Airlines, the official airline; AT&T, the official telecom partner; Dick’s Sporting Goods, the official sporting goods retailer; and Mesirow, the official mental health partner.
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James is a freelance reporter who has covered the Chicago Sky for the Chicago Tribune, MarketWatch and The Next Hoops. He hosts and produces a podcast covering the team called The Skyhook Podcast and is a mass communications/journalism graduate from the University of Iowa.