|New-look Sky open home schedule vs. Dream|
ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The Chicago Sky will present a new look as they play their 12th WNBA home opener on Friday vs. the Atlanta Dream at Allstate Arena.
There's a new coach/general manager (Amber Stock) plus a scattering of familiar faces, including veteran guards Tamara Young and Cappie Pondexter.
There's also no more Elena Delle Donne.
Delle Donne, the team's leading scorer (21.5 points) and former WNBA most valuable player, was traded to Washington in the offseason.
Six-year head coach Pokey Chatman, who guided Chicago to the 2014 WNBA Finals, was also let go.
But the 2017 group and new regime is coming together.
"We've had the time in practice to get our chemistry down, and my major thing is communicating," Young said. "It doesn't matter if you have new coaches or new players. If you communicate and practice, the chemistry will come."
The Sky (0-1) dropped a 70-61 decision to Minnesota in last Sunday's season opener as Young collected 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
Chicago's roster currently features five returning players, including Imani Boyette, Jessica Breland and Cheyenne Parker along with Pondexter and Young. Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot are also expected back after they complete international competition.
Pondexter was the team's No. 2 scorer last season (12.9 points) while Young averaged 8.5 points.
Stock spent two seasons as a Los Angeles Sparks assistant coach but also has an extensive basketball background over the past 18 years.
"I don't have expectations to make or not make the playoffs," Stocks told the Chicago Tribune recently. "My expectations are for us to take one game at a time and compete. If we concentrate on the process, the process of being the best we can be ... the playoffs and beyond will take care of themselves."
The Dream (1-0) are looking for their second road win after an 81-74 season-opening triumph at Connecticut.
But Atlanta is without top scorer and playmaker Angel McCoughtry, who announced she is sitting out the 2017 season.
"After much thought and consideration, I have decided to take some time off," McCoughtry said in statement in January. "I know this decision will allow me to come back and play to the best of my ability."
That leaves on-court leadership responsibilities to players like shooting guard Tiffany Hayes, now in her sixth WNBA season.
Hayes hit 11 of 12 free throws and scored 19 points, including a late 3-pointer, as the Dream beat the Sun for the sixth straight time last Saturday.
Atlanta was 17-17 during the 2016 season and was eliminated by the Sky in the second round of the playoffs.
Chicago is coming off an 18-16 record in 2016, the third-best in franchise history, and reached the WNBA playoff semifinals before being eliminated.