Commissioner Cathy Engelbert provides clarity for players on charter-travel initiative

ARLINGTON, Texas — The WNBA’s charter-travel initiative — by the league’s own admission — has had a faulty rollout.

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert didn’t come out and say, “We made a mistake announcing the league’s new travel plans this way.” But the admission of fault came in the form of a town-hall meeting between Engelbert and the league’s players hours after it was revealed that only the Fever and Lynx would start the season using charters.

On Monday, Engelbert clarified to players why that was the case.

“Flights that are across the country like [the Lynx] going to Seattle, crossing multiple time zones, or flights that usually require a connection, those were the priorities,” Sky center Elizabeth Williams told the Sun-Times. “That’s why New York didn’t go to D.C. with a charter, but Minny goes to Seattle.”

The Sky, Williams said, will be traveling commercially for their return flight from Dallas and for their trip to New York to play the Liberty on March 23. Williams said Engelbert indicated that by June, the league will have charter travel figured out for all 12 teams.

After playing their first three games on the road — against the Wings on Wednesday and Saturday, then against the Liberty — the Sky have three games at home. On June 1, they play the Fever on the road.

Rookie forward Angel Reese shared a photo on her Instagram story Tuesday with a strong message regarding charter travel.

“Just praying that this is one of the last commercial flights the Sky has to fly,” Reese posted.

Reese and her teammates have at least three more commercial flights ahead.

“Obviously, I think all teams should be able to get chartered,” Reese said. “But I know moving forward . . . going in the right direction, being able to have some teams [chartering] is cool. Within the next weeks, everybody will be flying charter, which will be really good.”

Championship energy

The last time Reese played in Dallas, she left with an NCAA title.

A little over a year ago, Reese led LSU to its first championship, beating Iowa 102-85. She finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals.

“It feels great [to be in Dallas],” Reese said. “I won my national championship here, so being able to get kind of a start here where I felt winning here, I’m just happy to be part of this moment.”

There wasn’t a championship on the line Wednesday night, but Reese and her new coach, Teresa Weatherspoon, talked about their game against the Wings being the first step to laying a championship foundation.

“[A championship] is what we’re building to,” Weatherspoon said before the game. “It’s Angel. That’s her mentality. That’s her confidence and what she believes in. Of course, we’re just trying to build one day, one game at a time.”

10 available

The Sky have 10 available players with Kamilla Cardoso (shoulder) and Isabelle Harrison (knee) out.

Weatherspoon didn’t share a timeline for Harrison’s return but said she’s doing well.

“She’s getting better day by day,” Weatherspoon said.

Harrison played six minutes in the Sky’s last preseason game and had six points and three rebounds. It’s unclear if she suffered the injury in that game or in subsequent practices. She didn’t practice Monday during the portion that was open to the media and didn’t participate in the shootaround Wednesday.

Weatherspoon said Cardoso is progressing well. She was taking shots during the shootaround but didn’t run through any sets with her teammates.

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