Chicago Sky guard vows to get stronger

Midway through her first season with the Chicago Sky, it took an outside voice to shake Marina Mabrey out of a slump.

Things weren’t going as planned. The Sky were flying blind in the weeks after the departure of coach and general manager James Wade. As losses piled up, Mabrey’s frustration became inescapably visible.

Mabrey’s parents, Patti and Roy, never had been inclined to sugarcoat advice to their daughter. Their midseason message was similarly blunt: “Your energy is not the same. You’re not very cheery, you’re not very positive. You’re focused on the wrong stuff and it’s not going to come to you.”

Without that conversation, Mabrey isn’t certain how she would have ended her first season in Chicago. Instead she finished as the Sky’s No. 2 scorer with 15 points per game while shooting 39% from 3-point range and breaking Allie Quigley’s single-season record with 228 makes behind the arc.

It still wasn’t enough to fix the season. The Sky crashed out of the first round Sunday with a miserable two-game sweep at the hands of the Las Vegas Aces in which Mabrey averaged 9.5 points and shot 22.2% on 3s.

One day after their final loss of the year, Mabrey faced her future in Chicago with a conviction that she knows what it takes to make this a fit.

“I won’t come back as the same player as I came here this year,” Mabrey said Monday. “That’s not me. I’m never going to come back the same. You have a player on the outside that’s going to work as hard as they can for the next nine months and make sure that they’re transformed again and on the road to (being) unstoppable.”

Mabrey understands the stakes set around her arrival in Chicago. The Sky traded away four draft picks to acquire her, upending most of their future trade and draft capital. That decision already placed outlandish expectations on the fifth-year guard’s shoulders.

And then Wade — the man who made that gamble — left halfway through Mabrey’s first season with hardly a word of warning.

Las Vegas Aces guard Jackie Young and Chicago Sky guard Marina Mabrey, right, struggle for the ball on the court during the first half of a WNBA playoff game Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, in Las Vegas.

Mabrey came to Chicago because of her belief in Wade, who had promised to develop her potential as a WNBA player. His departure felt as if the floor had been pulled out from beneath her feet.

“You go through free agency and you have this coach that has the same view of yourself, potential-wise, that you have of yourself, and it’s encouraging,” Mabrey said. “And then they leave. I’m not super experienced, I’m not super old, this is my first time actually deciding I was going to leave and go somewhere else. It’s scary.”

Mabrey, 27, prides herself on being a “very aggressive player” on both sides of the…

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Read More: Chicago Sky guard vows to get stronger 2023-09-19 01:55:00

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