December 2, 2022
Takeaways from the Chicago Sky’s 2023 schedule
Chicago will play Connecticut four times in 2023
Christmas came early for WNBA fans after the league released its 2023 schedule earlier than normal.
Heading into free agency, there’s still plenty left up in the air for the Sky. Candace Parker told The Athletic she is “game” for a 16th WNBA season and could return to Chicago or look elsewhere. Joining her as unrestricted free agents are Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, Emma Meesseman and Azurá Stevens (Rebekah Gardner is a reserved free agent as well). It’ll be up to head coach/general manager James Wade to lure them back for a shot at winning two championships in three years. Chicago also owns the No. 5 pick in the 2023 draft.
The Sky’s roster could look different next season but that won’t matter for another few weeks. Right now, the fan base should rejoice there’s a time and date for their team returning to the floor. Here are some takeaways from the Sky’s schedule release.
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The good and bad of the opening weekend
The good news: after months of waiting for the 2023 season to commence, Sky fans will get to watch their team play two games during the opening weekend. Chicago will open the year against Minnesota on May 19 and Phoenix on May 21.
The bad news: the team will be on the road for both contests. It isn’t ideal to start the year having to go from one region of the country to another in a two-day span but this will be the point the Sky will be the freshest versions of themselves. In a 40-game marathon, getting this stretch out of the way at the top of the season could be good for them.
Every WNBA season there is at least one team that deals with complications getting from point A to point B for a back-to-back slate. Chicago dealt with it last year when it flew to New York on the same day it played a game.
That won’t be the case this season.
Chicago is one of five teams that won’t have to play in back-to-back games in 2023 (Minnesota, Dallas, Indiana and Phoenix are the other four). If Chicago brings back its same veteran laden group from last year, not having to deal with the schedule crunch is a huge in the grand scheme of the season.
Basking in the Sun: Four games vs. Connecticut
Chicago has downplayed any talks of a rivalry forming with them and any other team but last season’s semifinals between the Sky and Sun felt like one had been brewing. Kahleah Copper had heated exchanges with multiple Sun players throughout the series while each squad ended the other’s chances of going to the Finals in back-to-back years.
Now, the two teams will play each other four times next season.
- Chicago @ Connecticut (June 25)
- Connecticut @ Chicago (July 12)
- Connecticut @ Chicago (Aug. 20)
- Chicago @ Connecticut (Sept. 10)
Depending on how free agency pans out, both teams will respectively return a good amount of their 2022 rosters. The Sky will be coming for the Sun after last year’s heartbreaking Game 5 loss. All of these games will be must-see TV when the season begins.
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Games to look forward to, regardless of roster changes
One of the few positives (if not the only one) to come out of limited roster space is how deep each WNBA team is. Regardless of whether the Sky’s roster looks dramatically different, these are a couple matchups to look forward to:
- Indiana Fever (June 6 at home): The Fever have only won 12 games over the last two years but their place at the bottom of the WNBA’s proverbial totem pole might be altered. Indiana owns the first pick in next year’s draft and the consensus is they will select South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston. She would be paired with the No. 2 overall pick in 2022 in NaLyssa Smith to form a formidable front court. If Parker, Meesseman and Azurá Stevens return, the matchup between the old guard and the new will be a fun matchup.
- Las Vegas Aces (June 11 at Las Vegas): The Sky know they should have been in last year’s WNBA finals. They had to watch the Aces take home their first title while their offseason started early. Chicago will be gunning for the reigning champs the same way every team went at them last year.
- Minnesota Lynx (May 19 at Minnesota): Opening night will start the post-Sylvia Fowles era and Sky fans should be happy about the prospects of that. After Chicago traded her in the middle of the 2015 season, the future hall of famer Fowles averaged 16.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game in 18 matchups vs. the Sky. Chicago won’t have to deal with her dominance on both ends following her retirement.