July 2 WNBA Preview — Chicago Sky (6-6) at Las Vegas Aces (7-5)

Looking to avoid an empty three-game western road swing, the Chicago Sky have a daunting challenge in returning home on a positive note Tuesday when they face the Las Vegas Aces in a matinee at Mandalay Bay.

The Sky (6-6) have lost three straight overall and are coming off their worst loss of the season, a 94-69 pummeling by the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday. Diamond DeShields scored 23 points, but Chicago shot just 33.3 percent and came undone in the third quarter. Los Angeles used a 17-4 burst to open a 25-point lead, and the Sky came no closer than 15 thereafter.

Valuing the basketball continues to be an issue for the Sky, who are 10th in the WNBA with 15.9 turnovers per game. They are also 11th in forcing turnovers at 12.8 per contest and have created only 10.7 per game during their three-game skid.

“I was able to score, but I had some turnovers, some defensive miscues. I’m not satisfied with the way that I played at all,” Diamond said. “I think tonight we played a lot of 1-on-1 basketball and that’s not what makes us successful, so just getting back to what made us successful and that’s playing together and playing defense.”

Guard Courtney Vandersloot has struggled scoring during Chicago’s struggles, totaling 16 points on 5-of-23 shooting in the three defeats. She has averaged 7 assists and 4 rebounds in that span.

The Aces (7-5) are seeking their sixth win in eight games after A’ja Wilson’s career night in their 102-97 overtime victory over the Indiana Fever on Saturday. The 2018 No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA draft, Wilson tied a franchise record with 39 points to go with 11 rebounds and five assists. Liz Cambage then took over in the extra period, tying a WNBA overtime record with 12 points and finishing with 16.

“I kind of get into this zone, this place where I can’t feel anything,” Wilson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I just know that I have to score the basketball. I have to produce for my team. It’s a lot of fun when you pull out a win against a team that. … This is the best I’ve ever seen the Indiana Fever. They were knocking down shots at crucial moments, so for us to come out on top with a win is a big deal for us.”

It has been a trying start in Las Vegas for Cambage, who forced a trade from Dallas before the season began. The 2018 WNBA MVP runner-up – whose season averages of 14.8 points and 7.2 rebounds are well off her 2018 numbers that included a league-best 23 points per game and 9.7 rebounds per contest – had to bounce back after a fourth-quarter benching by coach Bill Laimbeer on Saturday and hit all five of her shots in the extra five minutes.

“When Liz is fully engaged like she was in the overtime, she’s really good,” Laimbeer said. “She got distracted by the foul trouble. She never really got into the game. You saw what she can do in that overtime period.”

The Aces, who are seeking a fourth straight home win, took the final two games of last year’s three meetings.

(Liz Cambage photo courtesy Las Vegas Aces official Twitter account)

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