Big fourth quarter leads Sky over Mercury for first WNBA title

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Allie Quigley scored 26 points and Candace Parker and Courtney Vandersloot had double-doubles as the host Chicago Sky won their first WNBA championship with an 80-74 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday afternoon.

The sixth-seeded Sky, just 16-16 in the regular season, lost only twice in the postseason and prevailed 3-1 in the Finals after outscoring the fifth-seeded Mercury 26-11 in the fourth quarter, holding them without a field goal in the final 4:41.

Parker, a former MVP and WNBA champion in Los Angeles before signing with her hometown team during the off-season, had 16 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, Vandersloot had 10 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds, and series MVP Kayleah Copper added 10 points.


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“It feels amazing. I have the whole city there. We’ve got the whole city here. It’s amazing how Chicago supports. We’re champions for life here,” Parker said.

Brittney Griner scored 28 points and Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 16 each to lead the Mercury.

Quigley made two 3-pointers to pull the Sky within 65-60 early in the fourth quarter, but Diggins-Smith answered with a 3-pointer.

“Allie made some really big shots and got them back into the game. That definitely changed the momentum,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said.

The Mercury still had a seven-point lead, 72-65, but went more than four minutes without scoring, missing five layups.

“We were right there. Their defense went to another level. They were getting in passing lanes, they were trapping BG. We still got some really good looks. We missed them and they made them,” Brondello said.


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Parker’s 3-pointer tied the score, and Vandersloot had two of her 15 assists on baskets by Stefanie Dolson that gave Chicago a 76-72 lead with 45.8 seconds left.

Taurasi made two of three free throws with 42 seconds left, but Vandersloot answered with a basket and two free throws.

Chicago coach James Wade said he knew his team was going to keep fighting despite the deficit.

“That’s what we’ve been doing that all year. Whenever adversity comes our way, we’ve always stuck together — wins and losses. … We just leaned on our experience and stuck with it and now we brought a championship to the city of Chicago.”

The Sky quickly cut a seven-point halftime deficit to four early in the third quarter. But Taurasi made a 3-pointer, Parker hit a shot, and Diggins-Smith added two baskets as the Mercury opened a 59-45 lead.


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Parker scored seven straight points during a 9-0 Chicago run.

Taurasi made two free throws and Diggins-Smith added a basket that gave Phoenix a 63-54 lead at the end of the quarter.

Sophie Cunningham’s 3-pointer gave Phoenix a 28-25 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Sky scored six straight points to take a 35-33 lead, and Griner had five points during a 9-0 run that gave Phoenix a 44-37 halftime lead.

Copper averaged 17.0 points and six rebounds on her way to winning the Finals MVP.

“I just lived up to the challenge and the expectations. It felt like it was really far for me at first, and they told me what I could bring to this team and I continually brought it every single day.”

–Field Level Media



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