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 Phoenix—going on short rest after a full five-game series against the Las Vegas Aces in the semifinals—would 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.
.@chicagosky TAKES A 1-0 LEAD 🔥
The Sky got the dub behind SIX Sky players in double figures 🎯#WNBAFinals presented by @youtubeTV pic.twitter.com/2pOorFkWXm
— WNBA (@WNBA) October 10, 2021
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.
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):
Second Round (single elimination):
- Game One (Tuesday, Sept. 28):
- Game Two (Thursday, Sept. 30):
- Game Three (Sunday, Oct. 3):
- Game Four (Wednesday, Oct. 6):
- Game Five (Friday, Oct. 8):
- #5 Phoenix Mercury 87, #2 Las Vegas Aces 84 RECAP
- 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