By Matt Zahn

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Sky feel like they are championship contenders this year, coming off a pair of seasons that ended with trips to the playoffs.

Part of the reason for the high hopes, the return home of Candace Parker.

READ MORE: Joliet Man Loses All His Bitcoin After Fraudster Hijacks His Phone Number Hacks His Accounts

The Naperville Central alum is a two-time MVP and reigning WNBA defensive player of the year.

With a mix of vets like Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley – and rising stars like Diamond DeShields – the Sky really is the limit for this squad hoping to make its first championship run.

READ MORE: 17-Year-Old Charged In Carjacking Of Rideshare Driver In Beverly

“It’s special anytime you win a championship – but especially to be at home; to do it where I first started playing basketball,” Parker said.

“You can just tell that this is going to be a special season. We all can feel it. You know, now, it’s just about executing and going out and doing the little things; doing the hard things,” DeShields added. “I’m just ready, you know, I’m just really excited about the season.”

In a survey of WNBA general managers, the Sky were picked to win the East and are the number two title favorite. So it’s not just the Sky players themselves who expect big things from this team.

MORE NEWS: Banking History Going On Display As New Centier Bank Museum Is Set To Open In Whiting, Indiana

The Sky tip off their season in Washington, D.C. on Saturday.