2016: A Tale of Two Halves
The Chicago Sky’s season can be summed up as a tale of two halves. During the months of May and June, the Sky held a 6-9 record. Following the Olympic break, all 12 players returned refreshed and opened the second part of the season with a 4-0 start. In the final three months of the season, Chicago notched a 13-7 record.
In a losing effort against the Los Angeles Sparks on May 24, Erika de Souza, with her fourth rebound, passed Tammy Sutton Brown for 19th all-time in career rebounds in WNBA history. The Sky began the following month with a three-game winning streak. During this win streak the Sky lost forward Betnijah Laney for the season with a torn ACL.
During the month of June, the WNBA unveiled its Top20@20 presented by Verizon. Veteran Sky guard Cappie Pondexter was among the players honored on this list. Pondexter is only the seventh player in WNBA history to score 6,000 points in her career. Both Elena Delle Donne and Erika de Souza were among a group of 60 players up for this elite honor.
The month of July started with an overtime victory over the Washington Mystics. Delle Donne recorded her 600th career point and in the following game, tallied her highest offensive output with 38 points to the Minnesota Lynx.
The WNBA took a month-long break from the end of July through much of August. Chicago sent three players to Rio to represent their countries. Delle Donne represented the United States of America, winning a gold medal. Erika de Souza and Clarissa Dos Santos represented the host country of Brazil.
The Sky started the final month of the season by winning four straight games over the Dream, Wings, Storm and Stars. On September 7, the Chicago Sky lost Dolle Donne for what would be the remainder of the season with a thumb injury suffered against the Mystics. The Sky still managed to finish 18-15 and secure the fourth seed in the playoffs and a first-round bye in the new playoff format. Pondexter surpassed Lisa Leslie for fifth all-time in career points with 6,312.
Despite not playing for the final two weeks of the season, Delle Donne was named to the All-WNBA First Team. Delle Donne averaged 21.46 points per game and shot 93.5% from the free throw line, both second best in the WNBA. She also averaged 7.0 rebounds, the second highest average in her career, along with a career-best 1.9 assists. Rookie center Imani Boyette received 10 of the 11 possible votes for the WNBA All-Rookie Team. Boyette ranked second among rookie in rebounds and blocks with 5.6 and 1.4, respectively. Additionally, Boyette averaged 6.7 points in 18.9 minutes.
Chicago faced the Atlanta Dream in the second round of the playoffs. In a record setting night, the Sky defeated the Dream 108-98. Chicago set a new WNBA playoff scoring record for most points scored in a quarter with 37 points in the first quarter against Atlanta. The Sky tied the WNBA playoff record for points in regulation with 108 points. The Sky faced off against the Los Angeles Sparks in the semifinals. Despite being down 2-0 in Game 3 of the semifinals, Chicago overcame the odds and extended the series to Game 4.
2016 Chicago Sky Team Photo
Front Row: Jamierra Faulkner, Courtney Vandersloot, Betnijah Laney, Allie Quigley, Cappie Pondexter