Chicago Sky wins first WNBA championship
Free Press wire reports | 10/21/2021, noon
CHICAGO - Candace Parker returned home to bring Chicago a championship. She did just that, leading the Chicago Sky to the franchise’s first WNBA title.
Allie Quigley scored 26 points and Parker added 16 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, with Chicago beating the Phoenix Mercury 80-74 on Sunday in Game 4.
“This one is so sweet,” a champagne-soaked Parker said. “To do it with this group. I love this group, I love this team. And to do it here at home, it was just supposed to be.”
The Phoenix players declined to come to the postgame press conference. The door to their locker room was broken and a person familiar with the incident said at least one of the team’s players was responsible. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.
Courtney Vandersloot added 10 points and 15 assists for the Sky, who won the series 3-1, rallying from a 72-65 deficit with 4:42 left.
Vandersloot later scored in the lane to seal the victory and set off the celebration. As the final buzzer sounded, Parker sprinted to the corner of the court and hugged her family with tears in her eyes.
Chicago Coach James Wade became the third Black male coach to win a WNBA championship, joining Michael Cooper who did it with the Los Angeles Sparks and Corey Gaines, who did it with the Phoenix Mercury.
The Sky drew a sold-out crowd Sunday despite the Chicago Bears hosting the rival Green Bay Packers just down the street at Soldier Field. Chance the Rapper was once again in attendance to support his hometown team.
The victory was a full-circle moment for Parker, who triumphantly returned home to Chicago this season after spending 13 years with the Los Angeles Sparks. She has been continually called the Sky’s miss- ing piece throughout the playoffs, a label she proved accurate many times during Chicago’s stunning run, winning the title as a sixth seed.
“It feels amazing. My high school coach is here,” Parker said. “I know Pat’s (Summitt) watching. Got the whole city here. We got the whole city here. We are champions for life now.”
Brittney Griner was a focal point of Phoenix’s offense early on. The seven-time All-Star finished the game with 28 points, 18 of which came in the first half. Griner and guard Skylar Diggins-Smith helped lead a 9-0 run to finish the second quarter and give Phoenix a 44-37 edge at halftime.
Yet, Quigley’s fourth-quarter outburst ultimately undid any attempts Phoenix could make to stave off elimination.
“It wasn’t our night,” Phoenix Coach Sandy Brondello said. “Allie made some really big shots for them. We left her open, and she made them. It would be nice to be going back to a Game 5 now, but it’s not going to happen this year.”
Chicago’s Kahleah Copper, who had been a force in the first four games of the finals, earned MVP honors of the championship.