Wed, 24 Oct 2018

Sky open new arena vs. Liberty

Sports Xchange
20 May 2018, 11:21 GMT+10

The Chicago Sky will try to open the season with two wins in as many days when they face the New York Liberty in their home opener Sunday evening at the new Wintrust Arena.

Chicago (1-0), coming off a resounding 82-64 road victory over the Indiana Fever on Saturday afternoon in its opener, return home to a new building a few miles south of downtown Chicago after previously playing at suburban Allstate Arena.

Ultimately, Sky coach Amber Stocks knows that her players, not the building, will determine how far the team can go this season.

"Depth is one thing that we have that few teams do," Stocks said to the Daily Herald. "A lot of teams will have a seven-player rotation, and I think we will be able to get productive minutes from 10 players every game."

Meanwhile, New York will open on the road after finishing last season on top of the Eastern Conference with 22 wins. The Liberty were bounced out of the playoffs in the second round by the Washington Mystics.

Katie Smith will make her coaching debut for the Liberty. She served as an assistant for the previous four seasons and was promoted to replace Bill Laimbeer, who left to become president of basketball operations and coach of the Las Vegas Aces.

Smith inherits a talented roster that includes playmaking guard Shavonte Zellous.

"We're able to do whatever we pretty much want to," Zellous said to the New York Times. "It's going to be fun to watch. It's just not stand and pass it into (forward/center Tina Charles) and watch Tina work."

Most of New York's roster returns from last season.

The Liberty added rookie Kia Nurse, who shined during her collegiate career with the Connecticut Huskies. Guard Brittany Boyd also will add to the scoring attack after she missed most of last season with a torn Achilles' tendon.

For Chicago, rookie Diamond DeShields already is off to a stellar start one game into her career. The former Tennessee product who spent last season in Turkey netted 18 points in her WNBA debut against the Fever on Saturday.

Guard Allie Quigley notched a team-leading 19 points for the Sky. She made 8 of 12 shots, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc.

Now, the Sky will try to replicate their success less than 24 hours later in their home debut.

"I'd say our one long-term goal is to get one of the top six seeds in the playoffs," Stocks said to the Daily Herald. "I think we have a playoff (caliber) team."

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