Chicago Sun-Times

Copper is Sky’s new leader

Lone remaining starter from 2021 championsh­ip team will have plenty of new teammates to welcome

- ANNIE COSTABILE | @AnnieCosta­bile

MINNEAPOLI­S — Sky star Kahleah Copper began her USA Basketball media availabili­ty with some breaking news.

‘‘I’m actually the assistant GM,’’ Copper said, laughing, when asked about the Sky’s recent additions.

After the departures of Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloo­t, Allie Quigley and Azura Stevens, Copper is the last remaining starter from the Sky’s championsh­ip run in 2021. She’s also their longest-tenured player now.

It’s not a question about whether Copper is ready for this role, but rather one about what she’ll bring to it that will differ from Vandersloo­t and Parker. Each had a style she used to lead the franchise. Parker was vocal, and Vandersloo­t led by example. Copper often was described by her former teammates as the energizer.

These are the Sky’s free-agent pickups thus far that Copper will welcome into the fold (contract terms from herhoopsta­

Isabelle Harrison, forward Contract: Two-year deal, $160,000/


After being drafted out of Tennessee by the Phoenix Mercury with the 12th overall pick in 2015, Harrison sat out her first season in the WNBA with an injury. She spent her first three seasons in the league with three different teams: the Mercury, San Antonio Stars (now the Las Vegas Aces) and Dallas Wings.

In the last four seasons, she has averaged nine points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists for the Wings and has started in 63 of her 107 appearance­s.

Courtney Williams, guard

Contract: One-year deal, $160,000. Coming off her first All-Star appearance in 2021, Williams had a down season with the Connecticu­t Sun last year.

The Sun lost captain Jasmine Thomas early last season, giving Williams a dominant role in coach Curt Miller’s backcourt. She averaged 11.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists and started in all 34 of her appearance­s.

The most intriguing aspect of this signing is how she and Copper will complement each other defensivel­y. A brief tie-up between the two during the WNBA semifinals last season became a fan-favorite moment after neither player would give up possession of the ball.

‘‘[Williams] is the kind of person I want to go to war with,’’ Copper said.

Elizabeth Williams, center

Contract: Two-year deal, $135,000/ $135,000.

Williams, the fourth overall pick of the 2015 draft, played her first season in the WNBA with the Sun before playing her next six with the Atlanta Dream. She played for the Washington Mystics last season, averaging 5.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in 30 appearance­s.

Robyn Parks, forward

Contract: Training-camp contract. Sky general manager/coach James Wade always has had a strong eye for scouting overseas talent, as shown in his signing of Rebekah Gardner last year.

Parks is another undrafted pickup. She has played her entire pro career overseas since graduating from Virginia Commonweal­th in 2014. She leads her Italian team, Magnolia La Molisana Campobasso, with averages of 19.8 points and 7.6 rebounds.

Feyonda Fitzgerald, guard

Contract: Training-camp contract. Fitzgerald is another overseas signing by Wade. Selected by the Indiana Fever in the second round of the 2017 draft, Fitzgerald was waived days before the roster was finalized that season. She was signed by the Sun that June and played in two games.

She is averaging 23.1 points, 4.8 assists and 3.7 rebounds for Antalya 07 in Turkey.

The Sky’s roster stands at eight players, plus Parks and Fitzgerald on training-camp contracts.

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 ?? MICHAEL REAVES/GETTY IMAGES ?? Kahleah Copper is the Sky’s longest-tenured player after an offseason filled with departures.
MICHAEL REAVES/GETTY IMAGES Kahleah Copper is the Sky’s longest-tenured player after an offseason filled with departures.

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