Chicago Sky bring home the WNBA championship
Magic happened in Chicago on Sunday, October 17th. Candace Parker was the lead magician for the Chicago Sky.
The Sky was down 11 points entering the 4th quarter yet stormed back to win 80-74, claiming the franchise’s first WNBA title.
“She’s the most talented player I’ve ever been on the court with, hands down,” said Phoenix Guard Diana Taurasi regarding Parker.
The Sky was 16-16 during the regular season and entered the playoffs as the 6th seed. Regular teams rarely win championships. “We did it because we believed and we probably did something no one has ever done,” Sky coach and General Manager James Wade said. This meant the team had to win two single-elimination games to reach the semi-finals. The Sky then beat the top seed Connecticut Sun three games to one in order to reach the championship series.
“We did this for each other,” said Allie Quigley, who led the Sky with 26 points in the decisive game. She had four 3-pointers in the final period. Quigley is from Joliet Catholic and played in college at the DePaul University.
Another key player was Courtney Vandersloot, who was drafted by the Sky in 2011. “We wanted to do it here and we knew we had what it takes,” she said. “We just needed a few more pieces.”
The Sky signed free agent and Chicago-area native Candace Parker, who quickly became team leader. The team also made some crucial trades and picked up Stephanie Dolson and Kahleah Copper, who was named WNBA Finals MVP. Copper played great defense against Mercury Star and Olympic Gold Medalist, Diana Taurasi. She held Taurasi to 32.7% shooting during the finals. Kahleah said, “When the playoffs started, we gave ourselves a clean slate and totally forgot about the regular season.”
The Sky started the 4th quarter down by 11, but played brilliantly to make a game out of it. Quigley, Parker, Vandersloot, and Copper all had key plays during the run. The Mercury players declined to show up for the post-game news conference. With two Olympics gold medalists, Taurasi and Brittany Griner, the Mercury were the favorites to win the title.
“I am elated for the city and the fans,” Sky owner Michael Alter said.
Chicago Sky has only 4 players signed for the 2022 season, so it will be interesting to see how the organization attempts to keep the championship group relatively intact. Still, what a fantastic way to end the 2021 season, and Chicago can just enjoy that for now.