How close are the Chicago Sky? Close, and that's the most frustrating part of the 4-game skid

The Chicago Sky have lost four straight games.

Point to any fact or positive, and it doesn't matter. The team doesn't want to hear it. Teresa Weatherspoon hates the words "moral victory."

In her two seasons at LSU, Angel Reese lost eight total games. The Sky have lost nine games so far this season, their ninth loss coming at the hands of Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever.

"I'm not used to losing like this," Reese said.

But, the Sky are losing.

But, they're also close to figuring it out.

Weatherspoon is trying new things: she put Chennedy Carter and Lindsay Allen in the starting five Sunday. The team shot better from 3-point range. The offense was there in the form of 83 total points. The team shook off its slow starts at the start of the first and third quarters.

Still, defensive rotations and late-game executions sunk the Sky.

Whenever something goes right for the Sky, something else emerges to hamper a young team. Marina Mabrey said part of it is nearly the entire roster is new, from the head coach down to the reserves. That's not an excuse, but it's something the Sky are still navigating 13 games into the season.

"Just the little details," Mabrey said. "There's some growing pains, and executing down the stretch."

The positives in the last four straight games have been the same: Chennedy Carter's instant offense, Kamilla Cardoso's presence on the boards and Reese's ability to affect the game on both ends of the court.

Reese's sixth-consecutive double-double on Sunday tied Cindy Brown and Tina Charles for the most consecutive double-doubles by a rookie in WNBA history. 

In the end, the Sky missed three of their last four shots in the game.

"You have to walk out and execute what's on the board," Weatherspoon said.

One was a short look from Mabrey from the low block, which is a shot she usually makes. It hit the iron and bounced out.

Those kinds of looks are easy for Mabrey, but she's not the only one that's struggled when the clock ticks under five minutes left to go in the game. 

It happened to the Sky against the Mystics on Friday after Chicago closed a 15-point gap. It happened at home against the Sun when the Sky had a chance to tie or take the lead with just over two minutes to go in the game.

When it comes down to execution, the Sky just need to make plays happen. It comes with a different mentality. 

"Just locking in," Mabrey said. "There's a lot of things that can distract you."

Late-game execution was a detractor from the good the Sky did with the ball in their hands.

Chicago only had five turnovers in the game. That's an improvement from how the Sky have taken care of the basketball in previous games. On Sunday, it put the Sky in the game.

"We protected the ball, did a good job of valuing possessions," Weatherspoon said. "It kept us in the game down the stretch."

Being in the game and getting over the hump are two different things.

The important thing is Weatherspoon and the Sky aren't losing sight of the things that are working.

It's one thing to lose, but it's another to lose without anything to build on. The Sky have been in a position to win most of their games this season. They've only lost one game by double-digits, and that was a 88-75 loss to the Liberty that New York added on points in a decided game due to the Commissioner's Cup rules.

Cardoso and Reese consistently own the rebounding game and Carter is providing the most consistent flow of points. Those are two things the Sky are working with and putting to the forefront.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JUNE 16: Marina Mabrey #4 of the Chicago Sky celebrates a basket as Kelsey Mitchell #0 of the Indiana Fever reacts during the second half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on June 16, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User e

More needs to happen. Part of it is just making shots in late-game situations. The Sky are still looking for a consistent threat from the perimeter, perhaps that changes with Evans coming off the bench where she can find a soft spot on the defense and attack from there with her shot and her floater.

It's too early to ask a player like Reese to develop a perimeter shot, too. Especially as a rookie when she's already doing so well in the post. That's something she can develop during the offseason.

With Isabelle Harrison completely healthy, the post rotation is set. Now, the guard rotation needs to help out that post rotation. The guards know it, too, especially when so much of the team flows through the post players.

"I thought that we took care of the ball today," Mabrey said. "I think we could've helped them (Reese and Cardoso) inside a little more."

For now, the Sky need to find composure in clutch situations. 

The team has been in enough situations where a game has gotten away from them at the end. The coaching staff is confident the team will find that clutch gene to execute down the stretch.

Sometimes, it's just about getting one game to go your way. The Sky are that close. 

"This team will find it," Weatherspoon said. "There's a lot of things we do well.


Boston and Smith lift the Fever, as Indiana outlasts Sky and Angel Reese's sixth-straight double double

This time, there was no controversy between Indiana and Chicago. But, the Sky's biggest issues persisted.