Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Coach of rebuilt Chicago disappointed with Sky's energy in loss to Lynx

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz Updated: May 15, 2012 - 9:01 PM

Chicago coach Pokey Chatman took her team's 82-61 loss in perspective.

"It's a preseason game," she said after Tuesday's exhibition loss at the Sports Pavilion. "You're trying to get video and footage so you can put some things together for when it really counts."

The Lynx play the Sky twice this season, on June 23 at the Target Center in a 11:30 a.m. game on ESPN and at Chicago on Sept. 11.

"[I am] disappointed in the energy," Chatman said. "This is a veteran team. A lot of their core players are still here [from last season], making reads. We obviously could have had a better showing.

"After coming off a back-to-back [the Sky beat the New York Liberty in Newark, N.J., on Monday], we figured we would get one of those under our belt in the preseason."

Huh? Did she mean a loss to the Lynx on Tuesday?

"It's a lot of things to work on," Chatman said. "That's how it should be this early in the season. We have a lot of new faces. People think you make some changes on paper; it automatically translates onto the court."

Here is how the Sky roster breaks down before the final cuts:

Holdovers from last season: 6

Sylvia Fowles, C

Shay Murphy, G

Epiphanny Prince, G

Carolyn Swards, C

Courtney Vanersloot, G

Tamera Young, F

Switched teams: 5

Swin Cash, F, from Seattle

Le'Coe Willingham, F, Seattle

Felica Chester-Wooten, F, from NY Liberty

Ticha Penicheiro, G, LA Sparks

Ruth Riley, C, San Antonio

Rookies: 3

Sydney Carter, G, Texas A&M

Shey Peddy, G, Temple

Sonja Petrovic, F, Serbia

"You've got [four] players from the West coming to the East," Charman said. "It's a little bit different style of basketball—all quality basketball. I think we started bad and we finished bad [today]. It should give us some nice video and motivation at practice in a couple days."

She said the veterans -- new and old -- are meshing well.

"You can't tell it from this afternoon, but it is hard to explain if you don't know our previous situation," Chatman said. "You have Ticha [Penicheiro] with the guards. You have Swin [Cash] in the middle with the small forwards. You have Ruth [Riley]. It's locker room stuff. It's huddle stuff before I get there.

"I remember our first preseason game, I go to the huddle and I am ready to talk to the players and Swin is already saying two of the four things I had to say. It's just nice because you know they always want to hear my voice and sometimes it's not the most pleasant. So it's nice to have someone who has won championships, is on the Olympic team, who has gold medals to kind of confirm or reaffirm some of the things we're going to tell them. So it's been good from that standpoint. It's going to get better."

Fowles said the Sky need to get on the same page. "We have had our spurts, we've been up and down and the inconsistent things that we did," she said. "If we can just all click together in the next few weeks, that would be great. We will just go from there."

She played in Seattle this weekend with her teammate Cash and three Lynx players who are on the U.S. team in the London Olympicx this summer.

"It's always the same," Fowles said. "Lindsay [Whalen]'s always the same. Maya [Moore] is always the same. Seimone [Augustus] is always the goofball that she is. But to be on a team with them and then revert back to playing against them is always the hard part because you always want them on the[ir] team and be selfish. At the same time, it is what it is. It's a good teaching point for me but as well as my teammates, for those girls who guard Seimone, Lindsay and Maya.

"[Those three players have a] very high intensity and they always give you a positive outlook because you have to go out there and want to play hard. If not, they're just going to embarrass you."

Riley said she like her new coach so far: "Pokey has been great. She devotes an unbelievable amount of time to breaking down film from practice to game, getting us prepared the best we can possibly can. You know just herself. Her coaching is obviously a little different. She has a player mentality in some sort. It's good. I've really enjoyed being here so far."

The Sky, who have not made the playoffs in the six years since they were founded in 2006. open the season at Washington on Saturday.  "We are ready to get back to work on Thursday," Riley said, "and work on some of these weaknesses that we saw today. I think we are just excited to start the season and see what we can do."

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