Chicago opened up the championship series against Phoenix with a convincing win in Game 1, but the Mercury bounced back in an overtime battle in Game 2 to even the series at 1-1. With the WNBA Finals tied going into an important Game 3, both the Chicago Sky and Phoenix Mercury came into Friday night looking to take a crucial win to gain a one-game lead and move within one game of taking home the WNBA championship.
After the first two games of the best-of-five series took place in Phoenix, Game 3 moved to Chicago as the Sky were set to host their first home game of the Finals. And Chicago certainly took advantage of the energy from its home crowd en route to a dominant victory.
With the Sky on the verge of winning the title and the Mercury now with their backs against the wall as they face elimination, let’s go back and look at Game 3 and what transpired on Friday night in Chicago.
#6 Chicago Sky – 2, #5 Phoenix Mercury – 1
Game One: Sky 91, Mercury 77
Game Two: Mercury 91, Sky 86 (OT)
Game Three: Sky 86, Mercury 50
In the first game at Wintrust Arena in Chicago on Friday, it was going to be important for both sides to come out firing to take a commanding lead in what is now a best-of-three series. By the end of the night Friday, that team ended up being Chicago. The Sky returned to form of what they displayed in Game 1 and ran away niimpressive ncing 86-50 victory—the largest margin of victory in WNBA Finals history—to grab a 2-1 lead in the series.
.@chicagosky TAKE THE SERIES LEAD 🔥
— WNBA (@WNBA) October 16, 2021
From the opening tip, Chicago jumped out to a lead and never looked back, taking Phoenix out of the game right away. The Sky outscored the Mercury 46-24 in the first half thanks to Kahleah Copper going off for 20 first-half points and Chicago holding Phoenix to shooting just 23.5 percent from the field in the opening two quarters.
In the second half, not much changed for either team as the Sky continued to roll along and already held their largest lead of the series in the third quarter, which they only extended later on. By the time the fourth quarter came around, the game was a clear blowout, and both teams cleared their benches and allowed the starters to get some rest in preparation for an important Game 4 on Sunday.
Copper was the leading force for the Sky for most of the game, scoring 20 of her 22 points in the first half while sitting for some of the second half since Chicago had the game easily in hand. Behind Copper, Candace Parker finished with 13 points, four rebounds and three assists; Diamond DeShields tallied 11 points and five rebounds off the bench; Allie Quigley had nine points, four assists and three rebounds; and Courtney Vandersloot finished with four points, 10 assists and three rebounds for the Sky.
Phoenix wasn’t able to buy a bucket offensively in the game, finishing the night shooting 25.8 percent from the field. As a result, only one Mercury player, Brittney Griner with 16 points, finished in double figures in scoringash the team totaedg just 50 points. Outside of Griner, Skylar Diggins-Smith recorded seven points and three assists, Diana Taurasi had five points and Alanna Smith added seven points off the bench.
In both wins of the series, Chicago has looked awfully impressive and almost unstoppable at times, and the Sky now sit just one game away from ending this series with the trophy in Game 4. However, Phoenix was able to manage Chicago’s dominance to come away with a win in Game 2, and the Mercury will need to do that once again in Game 4 in order to avoid elimination and force a Game 5.
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):
- #5 Phoenix Mercury 91, #6 Chicago Sky 86 (OT) RECAP
- Game Three (Friday, Oct. 15):
- #6 Chicago Sky 86, #5 Phoenix Mercury 50 RECAP
- Game Four (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