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Chicago Sky
Chicago Sky logo
Conference Eastern
Leagues WNBA
Founded 2006
History Chicago Sky
2006–present
Arena Wintrust Arena
Location Chicago, Illinois
Team colors Sky blue, radiant yellow, black, white
                   
General manager James Wade
Head coach James Wade
Assistant(s) Tonya Edwards
Ann Wauters
Emre Vatansever
Ownership Michael J. Alter
Margaret Stender
Michelle Williams
Mathew Knowles
Championships 1 (2021)
Conference titles 1 (2014)
Kit body chicacosky heroine21.png
Heroine jersey
Kit shorts chicagosky heroine21.png
Team colours
Heroine
Kit body chicacosky explorer21.png
Explorer jersey
Kit shorts chicagosky explorer21.png
Team colours
Explorer
Kit body chicacosky rebel21.png
Rebel jersey
Kit shorts chicagosky rebel21.png
Team colours
Rebel

The Chicago Sky are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago. The Sky compete in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) as a member club of the league's Eastern Conference. The franchise was founded prior to the 2006 season. The Sky experienced a period of success from 2013 to 2016, making four playoff appearances and playing in the 2014 WNBA Finals. They experienced a second period of success starting in 2019 and won their first championship in the 2021 WNBA Finals.

The team is owned by Michael J. Alter (principal owner) and Margaret Stender (minority owner). Unlike many other WNBA teams, it is not affiliated with a National Basketball Association (NBA) counterpart, although the Chicago Bulls play in the same market.

Franchise history

Franchise origin

In February 2005, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that Chicago had been awarded a new WNBA franchise, temporarily named WNBA Chicago. On May 27, 2005, former NBA player and coach Dave Cowens was announced as the team's first head coach and general manager. The team home would be the UIC Pavilion. On September 20, 2005, the team name and logo formally debuted at an introduction event held at the Adler Planetarium. Team President and CEO Margaret Stender explained the team colors of yellow and blue represent "[a] beautiful day in Chicago between the blue sky and bright sunlight to highlight the spectacular skyline." The event was highlighted by the appearance of several star players, including Diana Taurasi, Temeka Johnson, Sue Bird, and Ruth Riley.

In November 2005, the team held an expansion draft to help build its roster of players. Among the notable selections were Brooke Wyckoff from the Connecticut Sun, Bernadette Ngoyisa from the San Antonio Silver Stars, Elaine Powell from the Detroit Shock, and Stacey Dales (who had retired prior to the 2005 season) from the Washington Mystics.

On February 28, 2006, the team announced that two of the minority shareholders of the team are Michelle Williams, from the vocal group Destiny's Child, and Mathew Knowles, father of Destiny's Child lead singer Beyoncé Knowles.

Early years and limited success (2006–2012)

In their first season, the Sky achieved a 5–29 record and finished last in the Eastern Conference. After the season, head coach Dave Cowens resigned to join the coaching staff of the Detroit Pistons. University of Missouri-Kansas City women's head basketball coach Bo Overton was named the Sky's new head coach and general manager on December 12, 2006. The Sky once again recorded a league-worst 5–29 record in 2006. Despite having the highest odds of drawing the first pick in the 2007 WNBA draft lottery, the Sky ended up with the third overall pick, which they used to select Armintie Price. The team was vastly improved in the 2007 season, but still finished with a 14–20 record and were two games behind the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Price was named the 2007 WNBA Rookie of the Year. On March 12, 2008, the Sky announced that Overton had resigned his position of coach/general manager. Assistant coach Steven Key was named head coach/general manager.

Sylvia Fowles WNBA
Sylvia Fowles

With the second overall pick in the 2008 WNBA draft, the Sky selected Sylvia Fowles. In the 2008 season, the Sky would once again fail to make the playoffs, posting a 12–22 record, finishing 5th in the East. Fowles was injured for most of the season (she was, however, selected to play on the winning U.S. team at the 2008 Summer Olympics, where she average 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game). In the 2009 WNBA draft, the Sky selected point guard Kristi Toliver with the third overall pick. Toliver had recently won the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship with the University of Maryland, where she had shot a game-tying three-point basket to send the game into overtime. In the 2009 season, the Sky contended for a playoff position, but finished with a record of 16-18 and lost a three-team tiebreaker to the Washington Mystics for the final playoff position.

Chicago Sky uniform 2011
2011 home uniform, manufactured by Adidas

Entering the 2010 season, the Sky moved to Allstate Arena in the suburb of Rosemont, Illinois. The team's roster underwent several changes, highlighted by the trading away of Candice Dupree and Kristi Toliver and the acquisition of Shameka Christon and Cathrine Kraayeveld. At one point during the season, they were at .500, just a few games back for the final playoff spot. However, they lost eight of their final ten games and were eliminated from playoff contention, finishing with a 14–20 record. Key resigned as GM and coach, and was replaced on October 28, 2010, by former LSU head coach Pokey Chatman.

In 2011, the Sky were led again by Fowles, who averaged a double-double (20 points and 10.2 rebounds per game). The Sky once again finished the season at 14-20 but were encouraged by going 10-7 at home. The Sky selected Shey Peddy with the 23rd pick and Sydney Carter with the 27th pick in the 2012 WNBA draft. Peddy and Carter were both eventually waived on May 14, 2012. The Sky began the 2012 season 7-1, but finished 14–20 for the third consecutive season. The Sky remained the only WNBA franchise to never make the playoffs.

Playoff runs (2013–2016)

The 2013 season was a turning point for the Sky. In the draft, they selected Elena Delle Donne with the second overall pick. Delle Donne became the first rookie to lead All-Star voting, averaging 18.1 points per game (fourth in the league) and leading the Sky to a 24-10 record and first place in the Eastern Conference. Delle Donne was named Rookie of the Year, Fowles was named Defensive Player of the Year and led the league in rebounds, and teammate Swin Cash received the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award. Chatman finished a close second for Coach of the Year, Delle Donne narrowly missed the MVP award, and Fowles and Delle Donne were named to the All-WNBA first and second teams. Reaching the playoffs for the first time, the Sky lost in the conference semifinals to the Indiana Fever.

In the 2014 season, the Sky posted an unimpressive 15-19 regular season record, but qualified for the playoffs as the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference. Guard Allie Quigley, who had grown up in nearby Joliet, Illinois, was named Sixth Woman of the Year. In the playoffs, they won two best-of-three series in the conference semifinals and finals to reach the WNBA Finals for the first time. In the best-of-five series, they were swept by the Phoenix Mercury in three games.

In February 2015, the Sky acquired Chicago native Cappie Pondexter from the New York Liberty in a straight-up trade for Epiphanny Prince. At the end of the 2015 season, they posted a 23-11 record and earned second place in the Eastern Conference. Delle Donne was named the league's Most Valuable Player, point guard Courtney Vandersloot led the league in assists, and Quigley was once again named Sixth Woman of the Year. Despite their improved regular season performance, the Sky fell to the Indiana Fever in the conference semifinals.

In the 2016 season, under the WNBA's new playoff format where teams were seeded regardless of conference, the Sky finished 4th in the league and returned to the playoffs, but lost 3-1 in the semifinals to the Los Angeles Sparks.

Rebuilding (2017–2018)

The Sky hired Amber Stocks as head coach and general manager, replacing Chatman, on December 6, 2016. During the 2016–17 offseason, in what was called one of the biggest trades in league history, the Sky traded Delle Donne to the Washington Mystics, receiving Kahleah Copper, Stefanie Dolson, and the Mystics' second overall pick in the 2017 WNBA draft. In the 2017 season, the Sky posted a 12–22 record and missed the playoffs for the first time in five seasons. In the ensuing 2018 WNBA draft, they selected Diamond DeShields and Gabby Williams in the first round. In the 2018 season, they posted a 13–21 record and missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season. On August 31, 2018, the Sky relieved Stocks as head coach and general manager. During these seasons, Courtney Vandersloot led the league in assists (setting a new assists-per-game record in 2017) and Allie Quigley won back-to-back Three-Point Contests at the All-Star Game.

Return to the playoffs and first championship (2019–present)

In November 2018, the Sky hired James Wade as the team's new head coach and general manager. The Sky selected Katie Lou Samuelson in the first round of the 2019 WNBA draft and traded away Alaina Coates. The 2019 season would be a turnaround for the Sky, as they finished with a 20–14 record and entered the playoffs as a fifth seed. Wade received the WNBA Coach of the Year Award for the regular season, and Courtney Vandersloot exceeded her own assists-per-game record for the second straight season. Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, and Diamond DeShields were all named All-Stars, and DeShields won the All-Star Game Skills Challenge. In the playoffs, they defeated the Phoenix Mercury in the first round, but then lost to the Las Vegas Aces on the road on a buzzer-beater in the final seconds.

In the 2020 season, which was shortened and held in a bubble in Bradenton, Florida due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sky showed promise early in the season but battled injuries and ended the season with a sixth-seeded 12–10 record. They lost a first round single-elimination game to the Phoenix Mercury.

On February 1, 2021, the Sky announced the signing of free agent Candace Parker, a two-time WNBA MVP and WNBA Finals MVP. Parker, who had grown up in Naperville, Illinois and played her first 12 seasons in the league with the Los Angeles Sparks, stated that she wanted to return to her hometown team. The Sky had a volatile 2021 season, including a seven-game losing streak and a seven-game winning streak, which they ended with a 16-16 record. They entered the playoffs as the 6th seed, winning two single-elimination games and a semifinals series against the Connecticut Sun on their way to the Finals. On October 17, 2021, the Sky won their first WNBA Championship after defeating the Phoenix Mercury 3-1 in the 2021 WNBA Finals. Kahleah Copper was named the Finals MVP. A parade and rally to celebrate the team were held on October 19, 2021. Since the new playoff format was adopted, the Sky became the lowest-seeded team and first team without a winning record to win the championship.

Name, logo, and uniforms

Uniforms

  • 2006–2010: At home, white with light blue on the sides. Collar is light blue. On the road, light blue with gold on the sides. Collar is gold.
  • 2011–2012: At home, white with light blue stripes on the sides. Collar is light blue. On the road, light blue with gold stripes on the sides. Collar is gold. In addition, both the home and away uniforms feature the team nickname and numbers in gold.
  • 2013–2014: A new number and name font was introduced, while the basic uniform design was retained.
  • 2015: Magellan Corporation introduced as new Jersey sponsor. Unlike most teams with jersey sponsors, the Sky opted to emblazon the Magellan logo on the left shoulder in place of the team's alternate logo.
  • 2016: As part of a league-wide initiative, all games featured all-color uniform matchups. Therefore, the Sky unveiled a gold uniform in addition to their regular light blue road uniform. Magellan was retained as the uniform sponsor.
  • 2018: Magellan was joined by University of Chicago Medicine as jersey sponsors.

Season-by-season records

Table key
AMVP All-Star Game Most Valuable Player
APP Assists Peak Performer
COY Coach of the Year
DPOY Defensive Player of the Year
FMVP Finals Most Valuable Player
MIP Most Improved Player
MVP Most Valuable Player
ROY Rookie of the Year
RPP Rebounding Peak Performer
SIX Sixth Woman of the Year
SPOR Sportsmanship Award
SPP Scoring Peak Performer
WNBA champions Conference champions Playoff berth
Season Team Conference standing (2006-16)

League standing (2016-present)

Regular season Playoff Results Awards Head coach
W L PCT
Chicago Sky
2006 2006 East 7th 5 29 .147 Dave Cowens
2007 2007 East 6th 14 20 .412 Bo Overton
2008 2008 East 5th 12 22 .353 Steven Key
2009 2009 East 5th 16 18 .471
2010 2010 East 6th 14 20 .412
2011 2011 East 5th 14 20 .412 Sylvia Fowles (DPOY) Pokey Chatman
2012 2012 East 5th 14 20 .412
2013 2013 East 1st 24 10 .706 Lost Conference Semifinals (Indiana, 0–2) Elena Delle Donne (ROY)
Sylvia Fowles (DPOY, RPP)
Swin Cash (SPOR)
2014 2014 East 4th 15 19 .441 Won Conference Semifinals (Atlanta, 2–1)
Won Conference Finals (Indiana, 2–1)
Lost WNBA Finals (Phoenix, 0–3)
Allie Quigley (SIX)
2015 2015 East 2nd 21 13 .618 Lost Conference Semifinals (Indiana, 1–2) Elena Delle Donne (MVP, SPP)
Allie Quigley (SIX)
Courtney Vandersloot (APP)
2016 2016 WNBA 4th 18 16 .529 Won Second Round (Atlanta, 1–0)
Lost WNBA Semifinals (Los Angeles, 1–3)
2017 2017 WNBA 9th 12 22 .353 Courtney Vandersloot (APP) Amber Stocks
2018 2018 WNBA 10th 13 21 .382 Courtney Vandersloot (APP)
2019 2019 WNBA 5th 20 14 .588 Won First Round (Phoenix, 1–0)
Lost Second Round (Las Vegas, 0–1)
James Wade (COY)
Courtney Vandersloot (APP)
James Wade
2020 2020 WNBA 6th 12 10 .545 Lost First Round (Connecticut, 0–1) Courtney Vandersloot (APP)
2021 2021 WNBA 6th 16 16 .500 Won First Round (Dallas, 1–0)
Won Second Round (Minnesota, 1–0)
Won Semifinals (Connecticut, 3–1)
Won WNBA Finals (Phoenix, 3–1)
Courtney Vandersloot (APP)
Kahleah Copper (Finals MVP)
2022 2022 WNBA 2nd 26 10 .722 Won First Round (New York, 2–1)
Lost Semifinals (Connecticut, 2–3)
James Wade (EOY)
Regular season 250 284 .468 1 Conference Championships
Playoffs 20 20 .500 1 WNBA Championships

Players

Current roster

Chicago Sky roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Nat. Name Height Weight DOB From Yrs
G 20 Belgium Allemand, Julie 5' 8" (1.73m) 147 lb (67kg) 07-07-1996 Belgium 1
G/F 2 United States Copper, Kahleah 6' 1" (1.85m) 165 lb (75kg) 08-28-1994 Rutgers 6
G 11 United States Evans, Dana 5' 6" (1.68m) 145 lb (66kg) 08-01-1998 Louisville 1
G 35 United States Gardner, Rebekah 6' 1" (1.85m) 130 lb (59kg) 07-09-1990 UCLA R
F 24 United States Hebard, Ruthy 6' 4" (1.93m) 190 lb (86kg) 04-28-1998 Oregon 2
F 33 Belgium Meesseman, Emma 6' 4" (1.93m) 191 lb (87kg) 05-13-1993 Belgium 7
F/C 3 United States Parker, Candace 6' 4" (1.93m) 184 lb (83kg) 04-19-1986 Tennessee 14
G 14 Hungary Quigley, Allie 5' 10" (1.78m) 142 lb (64kg) 06-20-1986 DePaul 13
F/C 30 United States Stevens, Azurá 6' 6" (1.98m) 180 lb (82kg) 02-01-1996 Connecticut 4
G 22 Hungary Vandersloot, Courtney 5' 8" (1.73m) 137 lb (62kg) 02-08-1989 Gonzaga 11
C 28 People's Republic of China Yueru, Li 6' 7" (2.01m) 200 lb (91kg) 03-28-1999 China R
Head coach
United States James Wade (Kennesaw State*)
Assistant coaches
United States Tonya Edwards (Tennessee)
Belgium Ann Wauters
Turkey Emre Vatansever
Athletic trainer
United States Meghan Lockerby
Strength and conditioning coach
United States Ann Crosby

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

  WNBA roster page
East
ATL
CHI
CON
IND
NY
WAS
West
DAL
LV
LA
MIN
PHO
SEA

Former players

  • Cappie Pondexter (2015–2017)
  • Imani Boyette (2016–2017)
  • Tamera Young (2009–2017)
  • Monique Currie (2007)
  • Stacey Dales (2006–2007)
  • Elena Delle Donne (2013–2016), now a member of the Washington Mystics
  • Érika de Souza (2015–2016)
  • Clarissa dos Santos (2015-2016)
  • Candice Dupree (2006–2009), now a member of the Indiana Fever
  • Sylvia Fowles (2008–2014), now a member of the Minnesota Lynx
  • Cathrine Kraayeveld (2010–2011)
  • Stacey Lovelace-Tolbert (2006)
  • Nikki McCray (2006)
  • Chasity Melvin (2006–2008)
  • Bernadette Ngoyisa (2006–2007)
  • Chelsea Newton (2006)
  • Jia Perkins (2006–2010)
  • Elaine Powell (2006)
  • Ashley Robinson (2006)
  • Brooke Wyckoff (2006–2009)
  • Stefanie Dolson (2017-2021), now a member of New York Liberty

Coaches and staff

Owners

  • Michael J. Alter and Margaret Stender (2006–present)

Head coaches

Chicago Sky head coaches
Name Start End Seasons Regular season Playoffs
W L PCT G W L PCT G
Dave Cowens May 25, 2005 September 12, 2006 1 5 29 .147 34 0 0 .000 0
Bo Overton December 12, 2006 March 12, 2008 1 14 20 .412 34 0 0 .000 0
Steven Key March 12, 2008 September 10, 2010 3 42 60 .412 102 0 0 .000 0
Pokey Chatman October 29, 2010 October 28, 2016 6 106 98 .520 204 7 12 .368 19
Amber Stocks December 8, 2016 August 31, 2018 2 25 43 .368 68 0 0 .000 0
James Wade November 8, 2018 present 4 74 50 .597 124 13 8 .619 21

General managers

Assistant coaches

  • Steven Key (2006–2007)
  • Roger Reding (2007)
  • Stephanie White (2007–2010)
  • Michael Mitchell (2008–2010)
  • Jeff House (2011–2012)
  • Christie Sides (2011–2016)
  • Tree Rollins (2013–2015)
  • Jonah Herscu (2016)
  • Carlene Mitchell (2017)
  • Awvee Storey (2017)
  • Carla Morrow (2018–2019)
  • Bridget Pettis (2019)
  • Olaf Lange (2020–2021)
  • Emre Vatansever (2020–present)
  • Tonya Edwards (2021–present)
  • Ann Wauters (2022-Present)

Statistics

Chicago Sky statistics
2000s
Season Individual Team vs Opponents
PPG RPG APG PPG RPG FG%
2006 C. Dupree (13.7) B. Ngoyisa (5.7) J. Perkins (3.2) 68.3 vs 79.0 30.5 vs 36.4 .394 vs .452
2007 C. Dupree (16.7) C. Dupree (7.7) D. Canty (4.1) 74.3 vs 76.8 34.3 vs 36.0 .406 vs .429
2008 J. Perkins (17.0) C. Dupree (7.9) D. Canty (4.1) 72.7 vs 73.8 33.1 vs 34.1 .428 vs .416
2009 C. Dupree (16.7) C. Dupree (7.9) D. Canty (3.2) 75.7 vs 79.2 31.9 vs 34.0 .435 vs .442
2010s
Season Individual Team vs Opponents
PPG RPG APG PPG RPG FG%
2010 S. Fowles (17.8) S. Fowles (9.9) D. Canty (3.4) 76.1 vs 76.8 31.7 vs 33.4 .437 vs .444
2011 S. Fowles (20.0) S. Fowles (10.2) C. Vandersloot (3.7) 74.2 vs 75.2 33.8 vs 32.6 .438 vs .418
2012 E. Prince (18.1) S. Fowles (10.4) C. Vandersloot (4.6) 75.2 vs 75.5 34.9 vs 30.1 .431 vs .429
2013 E. Delle Donne (18.1) S. Fowles (11.5) C. Vandersloot (5.6) 79.4 vs 73.6 37.1 vs 33.2 .420 vs .404
2014 E. Delle Donne (17.9) S. Fowles (10.2) C. Vandersloot (5.6) 76.2 vs 78.2 34.1 vs 35.6 .434 vs .420
2015 E. Delle Donne (23.4) E. Delle Donne (8.4) C. Vandersloot (5.8) 82.9 vs 78.8 36.6 vs 33.6 .446 vs .425
2016 E. Delle Donne (21.5) E. Delle Donne (7.0) C. Vandersloot (4.7) 86.2 vs 85.6 35.6 vs 32.9 .462 vs .436
2017 A. Quigley (16.4) J. Breland (6.3) C. Vandersloot (8.1) 82.1 vs 87.2 33.8 vs 36.5 .461 vs .435
2018 A. Quigley (15.4) Ch. Parker (5.8) C. Vandersloot (8.6) 83.8 vs 90.1 33.1 vs 36.5 .453 vs .462
2019 D. DeShields (16.2) J. Lavender (6.9) C. Vandersloot (9.1) 84.6 vs 83.3 36.4 vs 35.4 .448 vs .418
2020s
Season Individual Team vs Opponents
PPG RPG APG PPG RPG FG%
2020 A. Quigley (15.4) Ch. Parker (6.4) C. Vandersloot (10.0) 86.7 vs 84.1 33.6 vs 32.2 .491 vs .453
2021 K. Copper (14.4) Ca. Parker (8.4) C. Vandersloot (8.6) 83.3 vs 81.9 35.0 vs 35.9 .441 vs .433
2022 K. Copper (15.7) Ca. Parker (8.6) C. Vandersloot (6.5) 86.3 vs 81.3 34.8 vs 33.2 .481 vs .438

Media coverage

Currently, Sky games are broadcast locally in Chicago on WMEU-CD and WCIU-TV. Select Games are available on Marquee Sports Network. 2022 Marquee TV Schedule Select games are also broadcast in South Bend on WMYS-LD. Select games are broadcast nationally on ESPN or NBA TV. Broadcasters for the Sky games are Lisa Byington and Stephen Bardo.

The Sky was on radio for two seasons on WVON-AM 1690 with Les Grobstein on play-by-play and Tajua Catchings (whose sister Tamika Catchings is a star with the Indiana Fever) handling color. After 2008, WVON did not carry games any longer over a financial disagreement, and the Sky has not been on radio since. Their Home game only were carried on line during the 2008 season, but no Radio type play by play has been on since.

All games (excluding blackout games, which are available on ESPN3.com) are broadcast to the WNBA LiveAccess game feeds on the league website. Furthermore, some Sky games are broadcast nationally on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. The WNBA has reached an eight-year agreement with ESPN, which will pay right fees to the Sky, as well as other teams in the league.

Arenas

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Chicago Sky para niños

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