Sika Koné makes it to Minnesota for Sky’s season opener


Temps de lecture : 2 mn 🕗

MINNEAPOLIS — The last few days have been a whirlwind for Sika Koné.

After playing in two preseason games with the Liberty, one in which she scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds, Koné was waived Tuesday. By Thursday evening, Sky coach/general manager James Wade had picked her up off of waivers.

“To get a player like Sika off waivers. I felt like it’s going to prove to be a good piece for us in the not-so-distant future,” coach/general manager James Wade said.

The news that Koné would be meeting her new team in Minnesota less than 24 hours later took a little time to reach her. She was having a root canal when it happened.

Now that she’s with the Sky, Koné is ready to get to work.

‘‘When I came, my teammates were so nice,’’ Koné told the Sun-Times before the Sky’s season opener Friday against the Lynx. ‘‘They welcomed me. I’m not trying to put pressure on myself. I’m just thinking about what I can do to help the team. It’s my first game, and I’m excited to have fun.’’

Wade has known Koné since she was about 15 because she played for the same basketball organization — Gran Canaria — as former Sky center Astou Ndour. Koné had 24 double-doubles in 30 games for Gran Canaria this past season.

Koné studied former Sky star and two-time WNBA champion Candace Parker growing up. It’s a prerequisite for most bigs in the WNBA to be able to play Parker’s point-forward style, with an ability to shoot from anywhere on the court, handle the ball and attack the paint.

Koné has those characteristics, but she’s only 20 and has some developing to do. Wade said he is looking forward to that process.

‘‘We approach [Koné’s development] like we have a draft pick,’’ Wade said. ‘‘We’re going to try and put her in situations where she can play and grow her game. Her being in Europe a lot will give me a chance to keep my eye on her [in the WNBA offseason].’’

Wade’s move to acquire Koné came at the cost of waiving swing player Anneli Maley. In the last week, Wade opted to cut all of the guards he brought in on training-camp contracts, along with 23rd overall pick Kayana Traylor. The decision, he said, came down to what he thought was a greater need in the frontcourt, given the injuries the Sky are dealing with to start the season.

‘‘I think the fact that Ruthy [Hebard] is still recovering and [Isabelle Harrison] is out, we needed some insurance in the frontcourt,’’ Wade said. ‘‘To get a player like Sika off waivers, I felt like it’s going to prove to be a good piece for us in the not-so-distant future.’’

Koné dressed for the season opener against the Lynx, but Wade said he wasn’t sure whether she would play. She has had minimal time with the Sky’s playbook, so there isn’t a sense of urgency to get her minutes yet.

Source : Chicago Suntimes

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