Chasing a Championship: Chicago Dominates Phoenix To Take 1-0 Lead in WNBA Finals

Following a thrilling semifinals round that saw both Chicago and Phoenix pull off upsets over the top two seeds, the Sky and Mercury shifted their focus to each other, with a league title on the line.

The WNBA Finals began on Sunday afternoon at Footprint Center in Phoenix, in a battle of the WNBA’s two hottest teams. With Game 1 in the books, let’s recap and break down what took place Sunday in Phoenix. 

 

#6 Chicago Sky – 1, #5 Phoenix Mercury – 0

Game One: Sky 91, Mercury 77

 

To begin the championship series, many questioned whether Phoenixgoing on short rest after a full five-game series against the Las Vegas Aces in the semifinalswould be fatigued compared to Chicago, which had a few extra days off after taking their series against the Connecticut Sun in four games. 

That may have been the case throughout the course of Game 1, as the Sky didn’t let up en route to a dominant 91-77 win and taking a 1-0 series lead. 

 

Phoenix was able to jump out to a lead early on, taking a five-point lead into the second quarter at home. But Chicago stormed back before halftime, outscoring Phoenix 26-10 in the second quarter and going on a 17-0 run to hold a 46-35 advantage at the break. In the second half, the Sky were able cruise to an impressive Game 1 win, while leading by as much as 20 points at one point in the final half. 

As she has been all postseason long, Kahleah Copper was outstanding for Chicago, leading the Sky with a team-best 21 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists. Allie Quigley added 18 points; Candace Parker finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks; Stefanie Dolson was a nice spark off the bench with 14 points; and Courtney Vandersloot continued her dominance as a floor general with 12 points, 11 assists, and five rebounds. 

The trio of Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi, and Skylar Diggins-Smith continued to lead Phoenix as they have throughout the playoffs, but the Mercury weren’t able to get much else going in Game 1. Griner had a team-best 20 points and six rebounds, Taurasi had 17 points and three rebounds, and Diggins-Smith added 15 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Key contributors throughout the semifinals such as Shey Peddy and Brianna Turner were unable to continue that previous level of play, which limited Phoenix’s options throughout the game. 

See Also

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Phoenix bounce back in a big way in Game 2 (9 p.m. ET on Wednesday), but Chicago has been and continues to be too strong right now. Given the Sky’s balanced attack offensively and lock-down defensive on the other end, it will be an awfully tough uphill battle for the Mercury. And if the Sky can continue their current level of play over the next few games, they could even sweep their way to the WNBA title. 

 

WNBA Playoff Schedule 

First Round (single elimination):

  • #6 Chicago Sky 81, #7 Dallas Wings 64 RECAP
  • #5 Phoenix Mercury 83, #8 New York Liberty 82 RECAP

Second Round (single elimination):

  • #5 Phoenix Mercury 85, #4 Seattle Storm 80 (OT) RECAP
  • #6 Chicago Sky 89, #3 Minnesota Lynx 76 RECAP

Semifinals: 

  • Game One (Tuesday, Sept. 28): 
    • #6 Chicago Sky 101, #1 Connecticut Sun 95 (2OT) RECAP
    • #2 Las Vegas Aces 96, #5 Phoenix Mercury 90 RECAP
  • Game Two (Thursday, Sept. 30):
    • #1 Connecticut Sun 79, #6 Chicago Sky 68 RECAP
    • #5 Phoenix Mercury 117, #2 Las Vegas Aces 91 RECAP
  • Game Three (Sunday, Oct. 3): 
    • #6 Chicago Sky 86, #1 Connecticut Sun 83 RECAP
    • #5 Phoenix Mercury 87, #2 Las Vegas Aces 60 RECAP
  • Game Four (Wednesday, Oct. 6):
    • #6 Chicago Sky 79, #1 Connecticut Sun 69 RECAP
    • #2 Las Vegas Aces 93, #5 Phoenix Mercury 76 RECAP
  • Game Five (Friday, Oct. 8):
    • #5 Phoenix Mercury 87, #2 Las Vegas Aces 84 RECAP

WNBA Finals: 

  • Game One (Sunday, Oct. 10):
    • #6 Chicago Sky 91,#5 Phoenix Mercury 77 RECAP
  • Game Two (Wednesday, Oct. 13):
    •  #6 Chicago Sky at #5 Phoenix Mercury, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Game Three (Friday, Oct. 15):
    •  #5 Phoenix Mercury at #6 Chicago Sky, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2
  • Game Four – if necessary (Sunday, Oct. 17):
    •  #5 Phoenix Mercury at #6 Chicago Sky, 3 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Game Five – if necessary (Tuesday, Oct. 19):
    • #6 Chicago Sky at #5 Phoenix Mercury, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2

 

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