Kahleah Copper scored 20 of their 22 points in the first half and Chicago used a dominant defensive effort to land a record loss of the Phoenix Mercury 86-50 on Friday night and remove the Sky a win from the franchise’s first WNBA title.
Chicago will try to complete the best-of-five series on Sunday.
The Sky dominated both ends, keeping Brittney Griner in one of 8 shoots to just four points in the first half after scoring 29 in Mercury’s overtime win on Wednesday. Chicago also took Diana Taurasi out of the game, keeping her five points on one of 10 shoots. Griner finished on 16 points as both of their nights ended early in the fourth quarter when Sky retained the lead in their twenties.
With seven points in the first quarter, copper set the tone for the Sky early on. She finished a 3-point game to improve Chicago 20-11 by the end of the first quarter. Copper was off line for the 5 of 5 quarter, which was a sharp difference from Wednesday’s loss. The Sky only attempted four free throws during the entire game.
The sky hasn’t let up in the second quarter. They squeezed the ball in transition, with Allie Quigley and Stefanie Dolson getting slight dots in the paint to force Mercury to take a break as Sky extended the lead to 25:11 with 7:20 in the second quarter. Copper continued Sky’s scoring barrage with two three-point games in just one minute of play to bring them to 35-16. She ended the brilliant first half with another basket to improve the Sky in the half with 46:24.
The 22-point lead at halftime was the largest ever in the WNBA Finals and matched the Phoenix-held mark the Mercury scored in Game 1 against Chicago in 2014. This year, both teams were in the championship round for the last time.
Quigley finished the game with nine points and Courtney Vandersloot finished the game with 10 assists for Chicago.
The Sky hosted the WNBA Finals for the first time since the final in 2014. But it showed more star power on Friday, led by Parker, who played at the west suburb of Naperville Central High School before stepping into the national limelight in Tennessee and then continuing her legacy in the WNBA. She joined Sky ahead of the 2021 season and is now one win away from completing a magical homecoming.
On Thursday, Taurasi was fined $ 2,500 for contacting an officer, as opposed to being banned. Before the game, Sky head coach James Wade did not comment on the incident. “What happened? Did something happen? I didn’t see it in the game so I have no comment. Whatever happens between Diana and the League is between those two. I don’t want to go into that.”
FACES IN THE CROWD
The Sky played their best game of the season to a sold-out crowd, including Chicago Bears starting quarterback Justin Fields and hip-hop artist Chance The Rapper. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was along with Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and DePaul Women’s. present head coach Doug Bruno.