Started from the bench, now we’re here! In case you haven’t noticed, Cheyenne Parker of the Chicago Sky is having A SEASON. Averaging her career-high 13.4PPG, 6.4RPG and 1.5APG so far, she is not settling for anything less than perfection.
Parker has been with the Chicago Sky for 6 seasons now, developing both as an athlete and as a teammate. Recently, when asked about her growing leadership role within the team, Cheyenne said that she had naturally come to this point. The energy she brings off and on court, helps her navigate her teammates throughout the games, as well as give a high-quality performance. One of her tasks during games is to make sure she can be the spark for her teammates who, as she admitted, really appreciate it and motivate her in turn. I’ve been watching the Chicago Sky games closely this season and can definitely tell that once Cheyenne gets into game-focus, you can’t stop her.
Before the game against the Atlanta Dream, Parker mentioned she was never satisfied with her scores and there was always room for improvement. Hence, she aims to find that extra 10 minutes post-workout, to push herself in some offensive drills and areas she feels need focus. This is a great stance from an athlete that has been playing games virtually every other night and despite the fatigue, is still heavily focusing on the upcoming playoffs.
Obviously, winning games is not just a one-person endeavor. In the recent interview, Cheyenne was confident in the team and said they were locked-in and ready to deliver the game plan. One of the areas she pointed out that needed attention, was their defense, as they have a different scheme for each team they play against. She also admitted that the defense is where the biggest mental toughness lies, because usually it is the fatigue that causes errors on the court.
Thinking about the team as a whole, I was actually curious on how they have been handling roster changes this season as they now have Stevens and DeShields out, but have signed Mavunga and Prince. I asked Cheyenne about this and she said, as professional athletes, they are used to such situations, because it’s common that players come in or out due to injuries. The Sky are currently building the chemistry with the new signees to make sure the team functions organically.
Of course, we have to mention the hottest topic currently – the playoffs. When you think playoffs, you imagine this huge crowd of fans, lots of emotions, back to back home and away games. Well, this season has been anything but usual, so there will be very little audible cheering and no home court advantage. However, Parker admitted: ‘I don’t think that would make too much of a difference. We’ve been playing the same way this whole year, with no fans.’ – seems to me like the right mentality is there.
I also wanted to know how the players prepare for playoffs and if there were any different routines they might have. Cheyenne said she would stick to her usual preparation, but having learned from last year, the team is aware how tough playoffs can be and that it may go down to just one ball possession. The preparation will stay the same, just with a different, higher level of focus.
Parker scored 23 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in 28 minutes of play in her last game of the regular season, which was against the Dallas Wings. This was definitely a great performance that showed she’s ready for the playoffs. I’m really excited to see her bring the toughness and energy on the court next week.
Remember, the 2020 WNBA Playoffs start September 15th, so make sure you tune in and cheer for your favorite team!