After an uncharacteristic breakdown, the Chicago Sky look to regroup and deny the Connecticut Sun back-to-back victories Saturday when they meet in the "wubble" in Bradenton, Fla.
The Sky (4-2) are one of the teams who can win the WNBA title in this unprecedented season, but that does not mean they are invincible. Case in point was Thursday night's 96-86 loss to the Phoenix Mercury. Chicago started fast with a 16-8 burst, but James Wade's team failed to recover from a 24-2 run by the Mercury to erase that early deficit.
Courtney Vandersloot, who finished with 21 points and eight assists, pulled Chicago within one, but the Sky failed to get over the hump as they allowed a season high in points. Sydney Colson made her debut after being sidelined the first five games due to COVID-19 and hit a pair of free throws in two minutes.
Kahleah Cooper continued to shine with 18 points. She is averaging a team-best 14.7 points while shooting 54.3 percent, and her play has allowed Diamond DeShields to gradually ramp up her minutes as a supersub. DeShields is averaging 6.8 points while playing just over 19 minutes per game.
It is uncertain if the WNBA will take any disciplinary action towards Wade, who was ejected in the fourth quarter for arguing with officials.
Connecticut (1-5) broke through for its first victory of the season Thursday, using a quick start to roll past Dallas 91-68. Brionna Jones scored 17 points and Alyssa Thomas added 15, 10 rebounds and five assists as the Sun scored the first 13 points of the game.
"I thought it gave us an early boost of confidence that we could defend them," Sun coach Curt Miller said of the game-opening burst. "I think that fueled us the rest of the game, that we could string together stops. That was the best game in terms of stringing together stops."
Natasha Hiedeman had 14 points and four assists in her second start after coming off the bench for the first four games. The second-year guard is averaging 6.3 points and 1.8 assists, and the Sun outscored the Wings by 35 points in her 31 minutes.
Chicago won two of the three games between the teams last year, including a 109-104 overtime victory in the rubber match. DeShields scored a career-high 30 in that game, which set a WNBA record for combined first-quarter points as the Sky led 34-33 after 10 minutes.