The Chicago Sky is having its best season in team history, teetering on a playoff berth. Candice Dupree also is having her best season.
Of course, both go hand in hand.
Dupree is the team's leading scorer ( 15 points per game ) as the Sky ( 13-13, as of Aug. 20 ) are battling to survive in the Eastern Conference wars of the WNBA.
"We're doing pretty well so far. This, obviously, is the best team we've ever had," said Dupree, 25, a forward who attended Philadelphia's Temple University. "We're close to making the playoffs, but the Eastern Conference is pretty tight, so we just have to keep winning. Overall, so far so good."
Especially for Dupree, who ranks No. 1 in the WNBA in minutes played and defensive rebounds, and she's second overall in the league in total rebounds.
"I think I've stepped up my game; I've extended my range from the last three seasons," she said. "I've worked on shooting the 3-pointers a little more while I was overseas [ during the off-season ] , and am trying to be more of a vocal leader versus just a statistical leader on the team. It's a role that [ Coach ] Steve [ Key ] talked to me about, along with [ team president/CEO ] Margaret [ Stender ] , and it was something that I knew had to happen at some point. It is only my fourth year in the league, yet I'm already considered one of the veterans on the team, so it was just time to make that jump. And it's been a pretty easy transition for me. At first I was a little hesitant, but I adapted quickly."
The 6'2" Dupree, a three-time All-Star, has scored 20 or more points in eight games this season, including a 28-point effort in July at Seattle. She also has grabbed 10 or more rebounds eight times this season, including 14 against Minnesota Aug. 15.
"A lot of people would say I'm a finesse player, that I make the game look so easy, effortless," she said. "This year, I'm trying to be more aggressive on both ends of the floor, and a goal of mine is to [ record ] a double-double in every game. And not just 10-10, but 20-15 or something like that." [ A double-double is double-digit points and rebounds in the same game. ]
"I think we have all of the pieces of the puzzle nowoutside shooters, post presence, athletes who can run the floor, and more. So it makes the game a lot more exciting, entertaining."
And what about life off the court?
"I'm pretty boring," she said, laughing. "When I'm not playing, on off days, I just hang out; I'm an Internet junkie. I don't watch a lot of TV. I'm very family oriented; my mom [ Patty ] is my best friend and I talk to my twin sister [ Crystal ] every day, same with my younger sister [ Shayna ] ."
But she's not surfing Facebook or Twitter.
"Yes, I'm on Facebook, but I'm not obsessed with it. I've had it for years. I'm not a Twitter or MySpace person," she said.
Instead, Dupree hits ESPN.com, WNBA.com, NBA.com, CNN.com and various celebrity gossip Web sites.
Chicago is a very nice city; there's a lot of stuff to do here, places to hang out," she said. "I haven't shopped much of late, though I do like to shop for sneakers."
Incidentally, she owns about 50 pairs of sneakers.
See www.wnba.com/sky .