Sky vs. Shock features two of WNBA’s ‘3 to See’ rookies
BY SARAH TROTTO For Sun-Times Media June 1, 2013 6:50PM
Chicago Sky's Elena Delle Donne shoots a foul shot against the Phoenix Mercury in the second half during a WNBA basketball game on Monday, May 27, 2013, in Phoenix. The Sky defeated the Mercury 102-80. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
It’s been one of the league’s biggest story lines — the WNBA has hyped its three top draft picks, the “3 to See.”
Two will be on display Sunday night at Allstate Arena. No. 2 pick Elena Delle Donne and the Sky will face No. 3 pick Skylar Diggins and the Tulsa Shock.
Through videos, stories and Diggins’ online diary, the WNBA has promoted the three rookies who have intriguing back stories.
Delle Donne left powerhouse UConn to return home to Delaware, where she led the Blue Hens to their first Sweet 16. With nearly 400,000 Twitter followers, Diggins has become one of the most talked-about women’s basketball players. The former Notre Dame standout signed with rapper Jay-Z’s sports agency. And top pick Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury can dunk — and did so twice in her debut.
“What’s so neat about those three players is they’re so unique, different positions, different personalities, different schools, different levels of success,” Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. “It was a great opportunity with ESPN coming in with the deal [an extension through 2022] and now you have those three to see, but we all know there are so many other ones to see as well. Everybody is kind of piggybacking on that. It’s a great, great thing that’s going on.”
The Sky’s third of the “3 to See” has delivered. Delle Donne scored 22 in a 102-80 rout of the Phoenix Mercury on Monday and 20 in an 86-75 victory over the Connecticut Sun on Friday to help the Sky go 2-0. Chatman often praises the 6-5 guard/forward’s basketball IQ.
For the Shock (0-3), Diggins averages 10.3 points and 5.3 assists.
“She’s an awesome player and she’s a great leader,” Delle Donne said. “She really can lift her team, and you’ll see that with the Tulsa Shock this year.”
Players appreciate the extra buzz created by “3 to See,” but they’re focused on business.
“It’s good for the league, but at the end of the day, it’s about Chicago and about Tulsa,” said Sky center Sylvia Fowles, who had 24 points and 22 rebounds against the Sun for her first 20-20 game. “It’s not about Elena. It’s not about Brittney and Skylar.
“It’s a team thing. We just have to play collectively as a team.”