Another step forward for Angel Reese: 3 takes from the Chicago Sky's home opening loss to the Sun

Welcome home, Chicago Sky.

The Sky finally played their home opener on Saturday against the Connecticut Sun, and the Wintrust Arena crowd was treated to a show.

In a wire-to-wire game, where a young Sky team went up against an experienced contender, the Sky kept the momentum from a Thursday win over the New York Liberty alive. Chicago had a 50-42 halftime lead behind 10 points apiece from Angel Reese and Marina Mabrey.

The Sun responded with a strong second half, and even weathered the storm when Alyssa Thomas was ejected in the third quarter. Five-time WNBA All-Star DeWanna Bonner was the difference maker.

When Bonner made her baskets, the rest of the Sun followed. The Sky, instead, went cold. They couldn’t match Connecticut’s fourth-quarter offense, as the Sun pulled away for a 86-82 win in Chicago.

Here are three takes on the Sky’s home opener against the Sun on Saturday evening.

Another step forward for Angel Reese

Angel Reese is taking the WNBA by storm so far. She’s one of just three players in WNBA to have 15 offensive rebounds in her first three games of the season, and she’s scored 22 fourth quarter points to lift the Sky to a 2-1 record.

"I showed up a lot in the fourth quarter," Reese said before the game. "I want to put four quarters together."

She did that on Saturday.

Reese started strong with a 10-point first half. She finished with 13 and five rebounds in a game that tested her against DeWanna Bonner and Alyssa Thomas, two of the best forwards in the league who are long, athletic and stretch the floor.

The Sky’s rookie was up to the task as she held her own. It was physical, especially after Bonner adjusted and the Sun started to bring a trap on her in the second half when she touched the ball.

That set up a third quarter where Reese was set to the floor twice in quick succession. The second was a hard foul by Alyssa Thomas that was upgraded to a Flagrant 2 and Thomas got ejected. Reese went to the line and calmly sank her two free throws.

It was a hearty welcome to the W moment for Reese and she responded well.

It can’t be a fun time guarding Bonner, and she made a 3-pointer in Reese’s face in the fourth quarter to push the Sun lead to 78-74. But, Reese responded on the other end by running the Sky’s offense which led to a 3-pointer on the other end for the Sky.

Her presence of mind is impressive for a rookie. It took another step Saturday.

Chennedy Carter is an important part of this team

Teresa Weatherspoon said before the game that Chennedy Carter tells her before the game that all she wants to do is hoop.

When she hoops for the Sky, she brings a factor to the offense the Sky need. It’s simple as making baskets at times, but she’s a force in transition.

When the Sky were in a rut in the third quarter, Carter came in and got steals on consecutive plays on defense. One steal led to a transition layup, and the other was a turnover after Carter couldn’t get the ball to Reese. 

Carter fouled out with 8:52 left in the game. She had 11 points and three steals but made her presence known as the team’s clear sixth woman. That’s a boon for a team that’s still figuring out its roles as DeShields heals from an injury and will eventually get Cardoso back.

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 25: Angel Reese #5 of the Chicago Sky in action during he first half of a WNBA game on May 25, 2024 at Wintrust Arena on in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Sky don’t disappoint in their home opener

The momentum surrounding the Sky since draft night has only continued. It reached a different level after the win over the Liberty on Thursday.

On Saturday, the Sky’s home opener matched that momentum.

Young fans populated the baseline as Angel Reese participated in shoot around, and the awe was evident on their faces as she waved to her new home court faithful. Season ticket holders filed in soon after, and the crowd filled up Wintrust Arena. For a team that’s been eagerly awaiting a chance to play at home, they were properly welcomed.

The Sky introduced the entire team one player at a time before introducing the starting five. When Kamilla Cardoso and Reese were introduced, you could hear the cheering from the United Center.

The crowd was into it from the beginning, and during the game have the Sky a boost. 

Credit the Sky, the team gave the crowd plays to cheer about. But, the crowd never took a break. The Sun didn’t play well, and that’s not completely due to a raucous crowd but that energy certainly wasn’t any help. 

You wouldn’t know this was a team that underwent a massive overhaul during the offseason. A full Wintrust Arena could be a sign of things to come for a franchise that has the leadership and front office staff that’s leading the team in a specific direction.


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