Sky’s Isabelle Harrison making herself at home in Chicago

New Sky forward Isabelle Harrison has been pursuing advice from fans on Twitter about what life in Chicago would be like. 

Not all of it has been helpful. 

“Y’all lied to me,” Harrison tweeted on the first of the month. “Why is it so cold here?! I didn’t bring a jacket or nothing!” 

Her intel on Chicago’s spring weather was a miss, but the food recommendations made up for it, starting with Harrison’s first taste of an Italian beef sandwich. 

“Y’all did it right,” Harrison said. “I’ve been missing out.” 

Harrison was one of Sky coach/general manager James Wade’s additions in free agency. As an unrestricted free agent, Harrison signed a two-year deal with the Sky after spending the previous four seasons with the Dallas Wings and averaging nine points and 5.2 rebounds in 22 minutes. 

The Sky’s frontcourt will see a virtual overhaul this season aside from Ruthy Hebard, who’s entering her fourth season with the organization and preparing to return to the court after the birth of her son, Xzavier, on April 11. Li Yueru is also back with the Sky after making her WNBA debut last season. Her availability, though, is uncertain after Wade said she arrived “banged up.” 

“She’s been here since [April 25],” Wade said this week. “So now we’re just trying to take care of her physically so we can make sure she can play.’’

Li has yet to practice with the team during any of the windows open to the media. 

Harrison will be joined by Elizabeth Williams and Alanna Smith as the newest additions in the frontcourt. Williams practiced with the team for the first time Wednesday.  

The Sky’s first preseason game is Friday against Harrison’s former team. Guard Marina Mabrey won’t make the trip to Dallas. She was scheduled to arrive in Chicago on Thursday, the same day the team was flying out. 

Wade said he isn’t concerned with winning at this stage. His focus is on defining how his team will play. That process is still in the working stages, but the emphasis will be on defense. 

One defensive aspect that this group of bigs already has mastered is the ability to switch on screens. It was a point of emphasis in Williams’ first media availability in Chicago and something Wade said will help his team find success this year.

“[Defense] is what helps reinvent culture,” Wade said. “Because it’s not something you have to evaluate and think about. It comes from here [pointing to his heart]. It comes from your will. You don’t have to have talent to want to stay in front of someone, to want to get a rebound.” 

While Wade has emphasized defense in practices, Harrison provided some insight into what can be expected offensively. Similar to Wade’s teams in the past, ball movement will be a staple. Kahleah Copper mentioned assist records past Sky teams set and expects this team to do the same. 

Harrison said that Wade has yet to unload his playbook on the group. He’s focusing on reads out of transition and ball screens. 

“It makes you use your mind,” Harrison said. “I don’t like feeling like a robot when I play on offense. Being able to play free has been really good for me.” 

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