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Angel Reese and Team in Shambles as They Lose 4 of Last 5 - 'It's Not Like This Fun'

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Judging by recent events and statements by the team’s players, the Chicago Sky seem to be aiming to be the “bad girls” of the WNBA. They might have to settle for just “bad.”

If you hadn’t heard of the Chicago Sky before a week ago, you weren’t alone. In fact, before this season, even the most ardent sports fan probably couldn’t name more than three of the 16 WNBA franchises. They also probably couldn’t even grasp that I’d laid a trick question on them: There are only 12 WNBA franchises.

The two that most sports fans are familiar with at the moment are the Sky and the Indiana Fever, who made Iowa hoops legend Caitlin Clark the No. 1 selection in this year’s WNBA draft.

The Sky didn’t do badly in the draft, either, picking up two of Clark’s top rivals in the college ranks: LSU’s Angel Reese and South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso.

Cardoso hasn’t played much, but Reese certainly has — and, like any rookie, she’s had ups and downs.

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The nadir of her season arguably came while she was on the bench, when she went viral for cheering on a needless hard foul on Clark by the Sky’s Chennedy Carter — a troubled player who’s managed to get herself booted from two other WNBA franchises in one way or another already.

The whole kerfuffle sparked a media debate on race, sexuality and “pretty privilege” that we didn’t need to have.

More than any other player, however, Reese seemed to embrace it, telling reporters she was good with taking “the ‘bad guy’ role” and would “go down in history” for it.

“I’ll take that role. I’ll take the ‘bad guy’ role, and I’ll continue to take that on and be that for my teammates,” she told reporters last week. “And I know I’ll go down in history.”

“I’ll look back in 20 years and be like, ‘the reason why we watching women’s basketball is not just because of one person, it’s because of me, too,’ and I want y’all to realize that.”

Yes, well, being the “bad guy” only works if you win — and, in the wake of being at the epicenter of a national debate on race and sexuality in athletics, that’s not exactly happening for the Sky.

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On Wednesday night, Chicago lost its fourth game out of five at home, falling to the Connecticut Sun 83-75. While Reese had a solid performance with a double-double — her fourth straight — the 11-1 Sun were simply too much for the Sky.

And, while Connecticut has been the most dominant team in the league so far this year, the Sky’s recent skid — four losses in five games — isn’t explicable purely on a matchup level.

It started with the infamous Carter/Clark foul game on June 1, where the Sky lost 71-70 to the Fever, now 3-10. While the Fever have two promising young players in Clark and Aliyah Boston, the rest of the lineup is thin and the team needs to build around them. Perhaps most notably, the margin of victory was Clark’s free throw after Carter’s pointless viral foul.

On June 4, the Sky lost to the New York Liberty, 88-75. Reese got tossed from the game after a double-technical — one T for saying “that’s bulls***” to a ref in response to a foul, the other for dismissing him with a hand motion:

Considering that accumulating enough technicals will force you to sit out games, as per league rules, getting T’ed up twice in the closing minutes of a game the Sky weren’t going to win wasn’t exactly a smart move on Reese’s part.

On June 6, the Sky finally scored a victory, beating the Washington Mystics 79-71. This still managed to be unimpressive, considering the Mystics are 1-12 and are playing only slightly better than the Washington Generals.

The Atlanta Dream beat the Sky 89-80 on Saturday, and then there was the Sun game on Wednesday.

Do you watch the WNBA?

Five games, four losses. The skid has taken Chicago from an even 3-3 to 4-7. While the season is still young, this has the Sky hanging on to the final playoff spot; considering the WNBA postseason is only slightly harder to get into than community college, this isn’t a good sign.

Coach Teresa Weatherspoon was decidedly unhappy after Wednesday’s performance and tore into her team with what Clutch Points’ Christopher Smith called “a brutally honest take.”

“Our defense must be a little more active. Can’t allow them to get to where they want to get to,” Weatherspoon said. “Offensively, we must be able to read better. Seeing what’s happening to us, and then running the right plays for the right people.”

“It’s not like this fun. Nothing fun about losing,” she added. “It doesn’t matter the lesson you learn. There’s still nothing fun about losing. So we have to correct some things and correct them quickly.”

Again, it may be early, but that sounds a lot like desperation mode coming from the head coach.

Now, to be fair, both Reese and Carter have put up respectable numbers. Cardoso has spent most of the young season on the bench with a shoulder injury suffered during a preseason game and has been spotty since returning, but she put up a solid 10 points on Wednesday. And the team still lost because numbers don’t equal wins.

“I mean it’s basketball. You’re never gonna play great for 40 minutes. There’s highs and lows, but you just gotta stick with it and play hard together,” Cardoso said.

Alas, culturally important fouls aren’t worth wins, either. Yet, from the sound of things, Reese wants the Sky to be the distaff version of the late-’80s Detroit Pistons “Bad Boys” teams.

And while the highlight reels you see on ESPN from those teams showcase rough play by Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman, what people forget is that those Pistons teams weren’t a showcase for a bunch of guys who wanted to “go down in history” as villains.

Quite the opposite, in fact: Bad boys though they may have been, those Pistons teams were concerned with wins and championships, not individual stats or personal glory. In fact, hoops geeks like myself will remember how the Pistons shipped scoring machine Adrian Dantley to the Dallas Mavericks for the (on paper, anyway) inferior Mark Aguirre.

And yet that move helped cement the Pistons dynasty — because, unlike Dantley, Aguirre was a better team player who not only filled a key role in the low post but meshed better with the team’s chemistry.

Granted, you’ve probably forgotten about Mark Aguirre if you even knew who he was in the first place — but he’s a large part of the reason those Pistons “went down in history.”

If Angel Reese and Co. want to evolve into the “bad girl” dynasty of women’s pro basketball — and any sports league always needs a good villain — they need to be more Mark Aguirre and less Adrian Dantley.

There’s still time for that.

However, if they keep going the way they’re going, a cringeworthy 4-7 record may just be the beginning of a very humbling season for a team that was expected to be a budding contender in the newly relevant WNBA.


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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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