Sky look to end skid against Aces

The Chicago Sky will try to snap a three-game losing streak when they host the Las Vegas Aces on Sunday evening at Wintrust Arena near the shores of Lake Michigan.

Chicago (2-3) opened the season with back-to-back wins but has turned cold with losses against the Atlanta Dream, Seattle Storm and Connecticut Sun. The Sky are coming off a dreadful 38-point loss to the Sun in which they committed 23 turnovers and were outrebounded 49-24.

“… All was not gloom and doom,” Chicago coach Amber Stocks said. “We had 25 free-throw attempts (made 21) and anyone who knows the area that we have been increasing our emphasis on getting to the free throw line. That’s been a big improvement. I like our aggression to the rim. … I am not by any means dissuade from staying focused on our objectives and taking one game at a time.”

Meanwhile, Las Vegas (1-4) is looking for its second win in a row. The Aces snapped a four-game skid with an 85-73 win over the Washington Mystics on Friday.

Rookie forward A’ja Wilson, this year’s No. 1 overall pick out of South Carolina, finished with 26 points to lead her team to victory. She set a franchise record with 14 made free throws on 18 attempts as teammates repeatedly turned to her in the second half to attack the basket.

“She has to be the one,” Aces coach Bill Laimbeer said to the Las Vegas Sun. “She has to be the dominant force for us. She has to be the one that attacks, whether she’s tired or sore or whatever — it doesn’t matter. She’s our leader, she’s our go-to player, and she can’t shrink from it. She has to embrace it and take it on.”

Laimbeer is no stranger to many Chicago basketball fans. He was an integral part of the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons of the 1980s, who battled regularly with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

But now the former instigator is focused on developing another superstar in the Wilson.

“When we need a bucket, it’s like going to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,” Laimbeer told the Los Vegas Sun. “We need a bucket, throw A’ja the ball, she’s either going to get a bucket or get fouled. They can’t guard her. She’s too quick. She grew up a lot (Friday). She’s got a lot more to go, but I think she grew up a lot.”

Chicago is led by Allie Quigley, who is averaging 19.3 points per game in her first four contests. Rookie Diamond DeShields is averaging 13.4 points and 5.0 rebounds to go along with one steal per game.

Wilson leads the Aces with 20.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, and seven blocks. Three other players are averaging in double-digit scoring including Nia Coffey (13.0 points per game), Kayla McBride (13.0) and Tamera Young (12.4).

This is the first visit to Chicago for the Aces, who moved from San Antonio during the offseason.