From the 106 section of Wintrust Arena on Friday night, Candace Parker heaved a trick shot with a boot on her left ankle.
Both attempts largely missed the basket, but Parker laughed, enjoying her new home arena.
Sunday, against the New York Liberty (3-1) at noon, Parker is expected to make her highly anticipated home debut. After suffering a minor ankle injury in shootaround ahead of Wednesday’s game against the Atlanta Dream, her debut might have to wait.
“Right now, she’s day to day,” coach and general manager James Wade said. “We’re trying to keep her off her ankle and do mobility stuff outside of practice. We’ll see where she’s at tomorrow, but today she was better than she was yesterday.”
Parker’s injury has been described as a minor sprain. Sky staff said Parker came down on it awkwardly and out of an abundance of caution has been resting it.
At the team’s video shoot, the boot on Parker’s left ankle was the only thing keeping her from moving freely. She was not using crutches and didn’t appear to be in any pain. She practiced with the team Saturday morning.
BTS from yesterday’s Sky video shoot.
I’m told Parker is expected to play in the home opener Sunday. She has been practicing with the team & was in the boot as a precaution. pic.twitter.com/5KgZVeCAwv
— Annie Costabile (@AnnieCostabile) May 22, 2021
The Sky’s home opener at Wintrust Arena will be in front of a sold-out crowd of 1,257 people. In accordance with Chicago’s guidelines and the league’s that is the full number of seats available in the arena at this time. That includes court-side seating and seating on the 100 and 200 levels.
Rookie point guard Shyla Heal will make her debut for the Sky on Sunday. She said it will be special to get her first WNBA minutes in the team’s first game at home in front of fans in over a year.
Heal joined the team for her first team workout Friday after going through the league’s COVID-19 protocol. Wade said he’s been impressed by what he’s seen from her.
Saturday’s practice was tough for her, he said. Veteran guards Courtney Vandersloot, Diamond DeShields and Kahleah Copper drilled her.
“When you match up against Sloot, Kah and Diamond, they aren’t going to make it easy on the young ones,” Wade said. “There’s beauty in the struggle.”
The Liberty are coming off a nearly 30 point loss to the Mystics. Guarding the league’s current assist leader, Sabrina Ionescu, will be the Sky’s greatest challenge Sunday.
Wade said she’s unguardable, so the focus is on making her uncomfortable.
Betnijah Laney, who spent her first two seasons in the WNBA with the Sky, is off to a red hot start this year. She’s currently third on the league’s scoring leaderboard averaging 22.5 points per game. The Liberty are averaging 80.3 ppg in four games played to Chicago’s 77.5 in two games.
Defensively, the Sky will need to lock Laney and Ionescu up and play a complete game. It’s something we have not seen from them in the first two games of the season.
Against the Dream, they had nine turnovers at the half and finished the game with 24. Their 20 point lead was cut down to one in the fourth quarter.
The team said it was a learning lesson that showed them what they’re capable of with their backs against the wall. Against a better team, though, that game would have gotten out of hand.
Welcoming fans back to Wintrust Arena is something Sky players have been looking forward to since playing in the bubble last season. They said there is no fear regarding COVID-19 and being in a less controlled environment.
Azurá Stevens and Parker are both listed as probable for Sunday’s game. Wade said Stevens would play. Allie Quigley is still out with a hamstring injury.
Source by chicago.suntimes.com