Chicago Sky Open West Coast Road Trip against Phoenix Mercury
CHICAGO - The Chicago Sky (3-3) begin a three-game West Coast road trip tonight against the Phoenix Mercury (5-3) at Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. CST and can be seen on WNBA League Pass and The U Too.
Following Chicago's 95-90 comeback victory against Las Vegas at Wintrust Arena on Sunday, June 3, the Sky hope to string together more wins on the road, with the first stop in Phoenix on Friday, June 8. Chicago currently has three wins and three losses, making Friday night's game their chance to move above .500.
Both the Sky and the Mercury aim to continue their winning streaks in order to move up in the WNBA standings. The Mercury is currently amongst the top 5 teams in the league, and the Sky - currently at No. 8 - could potentially move up to the No. 6 spot with a win in Phoenix.
Currently on a three-game win streak, the Mercury will battle to continue the trend when they host the Sky on their home court. In their last outing, Mercury guard Diana Taurasi became the first WNBA player to score over 8,000 career points. The Sky can expect to see Taurasi fighting to score early and often, along with Mercury center Brittney Griner, currently the WNBA's fourth-leading scorer.
According to the series history, the Sky have only recorded three wins in Phoenix. In Friday's game, the Sky hope to increase that record to four, as well as solidify the first win in a series of three games against the Mercury this season.
ONE TO WATCH
Forward Diamond DeShields has seemingly found her stroke, as the rookie led the Sky with a career-high 25 points in the last matchup against the Aces. To continue winning, the Sky will look for DeShields to have another high-scoring game. Along with the strong starters, the bench players can be expected to play with the same explosive energy. In the June 3 win against Las Vegas, Chicago's bench contributed 34 of the team's 95 points, making the win a collective team effort.
"What you saw on the court was a byproduct of what the players have been doing in practice," said general manager and head coach Amber Stocks. "It's not the moment, it's the preparation you put in before the moment that allows you to seize the opportunity of the moment."
DISHES AND BOARDS
Watch for Chicago to continue to share the basketball to break down the defense. The Sky had 20 assists in their last outing, 14 of those assists coming from guards Courtney Vandersloot and Jamierra Faulkner. Faulkner currently sits in the top 10 - tied for ninth - in assists per game this season.
To add to the assists, Chicago will need to crash the offensive and defensive glass. Forward Cheyenne Parker grabbed 13 boards, and forward Gabby Williams collected another 10 rebounds in their last game against the Aces. Parker, DeShields, and Williams all rank in the WNBA's top 30 rebounders with Parker ranking 10th. These rebounds have created second-chance opportunities for Chicago, and in the last game against Las Vegas, the Sky scored 17 second chance points.
DeShields and guard Allie Quigley rank 10th and 14th, respectively, in free throw percentage in the WNBA. Against the Aces, Chicago banked 32 of their 38 attempted free throws.
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