The Chicago Sky don't appear to be the same team now as they were when blown out by the Washington Mystics three weeks ago.
Looking to avenge that defeat, the improved Sky try for a sixth win in seven games Wednesday morning while aiming to keep the visiting Mystics from a fourth consecutive victory.
Chicago (6-3) has been one of the bigger surprises during the early portion of the 2019 season. The Sky lost two of their first three games, including 103-85 at Washington on June 5. The Mystics led by as many as 21 points in the first half en route to the easy victory.
However, Chicago is 5-1 since that loss, and just beat league-leading Connecticut 93-75 on Sunday at home. Cheyenne Parker had 22 points off the bench and was one of five players in double figures for the Sky, who outscored the Sun 29-8 in the second quarter, shot 52.8 percent for the game and held a 40-33 advantage on the glass for their most impressive victory of the young season.
"It just shows that we're doing the right things and that everybody's buying into doing the right things," first-year coach and general manager James Wade told the Sky's official website. "When we focus like that, and when we play together with that kind of urgency, the sky's the limit for us."
Parker (10.4 points per game) was a little more boisterous regarding the current status of her club.
"It just emphasizes what we already know, which is we're the team to beat," she said. "I think the statement we said (in beating Connecticut) is that we're a force to reckon with this season."
The latter might be true, but Washington (7-3) would probably like a say when it comes to whom is the team to beat. While Chicago's defense (allowing 79.4 points per game) has improved after giving up a league-worst average of 90.1 points in 2018, the Mystics lead the WNBA averaging 85.9 points and are among the best in the league by giving up 74.5 per contest.
Washington has a chance to sweep a four-game road stretch after winning at Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Atlanta by an average of 22.7 points. Ex-Sky forward Elena Delle Donne (16.4 ppg, 9 rebounds per game) stayed hot with 21 points and 10 rebounds as the Mystics used a 28-7 third-quarter scoring advantage to win 89-73 at Atlanta on Sunday.
Delle Donne has totaled 50 points in the last two games and averaged 12 rebounds in the last three. She scored 12 against the Sky earlier this month.
Teammate Kristi Toliver (11.8 ppg) had 19 points in the first 2019 meeting with Chicago, which received 24 from Diamond DeShields (14.1 ppg).