CHICAGO — The Chicago Sky made their home debut against the Connecticut Sun at Wintrust Arena Saturday night. After a hard-fought battle, the Sky lost 86-82. Marina Mabrey and Angel Reese had another consistent showing. However, Alyssa Thomas and the Sun created a physical battle that gave Chicago some wounds and provided valuable lessons.

The energy at Wintrust Arena was incredible for Chicago's home opener. NBA legend and minority Sky franchise owner Dwyane Wade, Chance the Rapper, and Lupe Fiasco were in attendance for the night. Chicago fans got loud at multiple points in the game, and their energy was one reason the Sky got off to a good start.

The Sky led the Sun 50-42 at halftime off Angel Reese and Marina Mabrey's stout play. However, Connecticut's experience and resiliency shifted momentum late in the second half. One of the most pivotal points of the game came when Alyssa Thomas committed a flagrant 2 foul on Reese during a rebound attempt:

Officials ejected Thomas from the game, but Reese got up and continued to play hard.

Angel Reese welcomes the toughest of challenges

Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas (25) defends against Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5)
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The rookie forward provided valuable insight on tough matchups like Thomas and other WNBA stars after the game.

“You can't take plays off. There's no player in this league where you can just sag off or take a play off and be lazy…But I have a coaching staff and teammates that really trust me, and I appreciate their confidence in me,” Reese said in the post-game press conference.

Furthermore, Reese issued the perfect response when asked if Thomas was trying to send her a message with the hard foul.

“[Thomas' and other players' physical play] is not just because I'm a rookie. I'm a player. They don't give a damn if I'm a rookie. I mean, I want them to come at me every day. They're not supposed to be nice to me,” Reese claimed.

Reese thanked Thomas for playing her tough and reiterated that such battles strengthen her.

“So I know it's no hard feelings, and I appreciate her for going at me tonight,” Reese added.

Teresa Weatherspoon praised Reese's response, saying “That's who she is.” The head coach is proud of how her team competed against one of the best squads in the league. Yet, Weatherspoon acknowledged Chicago has work to do.

“We just didn't execute. Looked like we kind of got mixed up on some things that we were trying to do, not in the right positions…And we have to grow from that because in any game that you play, it's all about the details, and we have to be sharper with all the details.”

Sun's experience and depth gave the Sky a needed challenge

The Sun kept their foot on the gas despite Alyssa Thomas' third-quarter ejection. Sharpshooting stretch DeWanna Bonner led Connecticut with 19 points. She made shots when the Sun needed them most and kept the pressure on Chicago despite taking a hard foul herself.

Connecticut improved their record to 5-0, remaining undefeated on the season. Meanwhile, Chicago fell to 2-2. Marina Mabrey led the Sky with 23 points, five rebounds, and four assists, continuing her earnest offensive leadership. Angel Reese and Dana Evans followed Mabrey with 13 points a piece.

Chicago put forth an admirable effort despite their loss. The lessons they learned from the tough matchup will carry over and allow them to return stronger for their next game against the Seattle Storm on May 28th.