Sky win 1st championship with comeback triumph over Mercury
The Chicago Sky are WNBA champions for the first time in their 16-year history, capping one of the most surprising postseason runs in recent memory.
Chicago kept fans on the edge of their seats in Sunday's Game 4, trailing the visiting Phoenix Mercury by nine entering the fourth quarter. However, thanks largely to a timely scoring barrage from Allie Quigley and Stefanie Dolson, the Sky mounted a late-game comeback to secure an 80-74 win and a 3-1 Finals series victory.
Quigley finished with a team-high 26 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter that helped her squad outscore the visitors 26-11 in the frame.
The win vindicated Candace Parker's decision to return home to Illinois last offseason after 13 campaigns as the face of the Los Angeles Sparks.
"Everything that this team went through the entire year prepared us for this," Parker told ESPN's Holly Rowe postgame. "We were down nine, we were down 11, we just got to stay with it, and that's what we've done all season. I'm so proud of this group. I am so proud of our fight, next-man-up mentality."
Mercury star Diana Taurasi finished with 16 points, two rebounds, and two assists. Teammate Brittney Griner scored a game-high 28 points on 12-of-19 shooting but tallied just six points in the last quarter. Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello credited the Sky's defensive scheme with slowing down the team's All-WNBA center and flipping the game's outcome.
“Their defense went to another level trapping (Griner),” Brondello said, according to the Associated Press. “We got some good looks, layups. We missed them and they made them. Allie really changed the momentum of the game there.”
The Sky entered the playoffs with a 16-16 record and were considered long shots to advance to the Finals. As the No. 6 seed, Chicago had to beat out No. 7 Dallas Wings and No. 3 Minnesota Lynx in single-elimination knockout games.
Chicago toppled top-seeded Connecticut Sun 3-1 in the semifinals.