Chicago

Sky become first WNBA team to clinch 2022 playoff berth

Chicago

The Chicago Sky's title defense is about to kick into high gear.

With Wednesday's 78-74 victory over the Seattle Storm, the Sky became the first WNBA team to clinch a 2022 playoff berth.

The result moved the Sky to 20-6 on the season, two games better than the second-place Las Vegas Aces.

That pace has the Sky poised to smash their previous single-season win percentage record. Just once in franchise history have the Sky won more than 70 percent of their regular-season games — in 2013, when they went 24-10 (.706). With ten games remaining in the 2022 campaign, their win percentage sits at .769.

Last season, the Sky went 16-16 in the regular season, starting slow due to injuries but coming on to snag the sixth seed in the playoffs. From there, they knocked off the Dallas Wings and Minnesota Lynx in single-elimination matchups, then toppled the Connecticut Sun (3-1) and Phoenix Mercury (3-1) in best of five series to clinch their first WNBA championship.

The ensuing offseason saw key cogs such as Diamond DeShields (Mercury) and Stefanie Dolson (New York Liberty) venture elsewhere, but the Sky haven't broken stride. As of July 20, they sit second in the W in offensive rating, fifth in defensive rating, and have won 10 of their last 11 games.

That surge has been powered by their four 2022 All-Stars — Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Kahleah Copper and recent free-agent signing Emma Meesseman — as well as the contributions of Allie Quigley, Azurá Stevens, Rebekah Gardner and others.

That group will look to continue its torrid pace through the stretch run and into the postseason, including on July 26, when they are scheduled to take on the Aces in the Commissioner’s Cup championship game.

 

The WNBA Playoffs begin on Aug. 17.