CHICAGO – Allie Quigley scored 26 points and Candace Parker added 16 points, 13 rebounds and five assists to help Chicago win their first WNBA championship with an 80-74 win over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday.
Courtney Vanderslut added 10 points and 15 assists for Sky, who won the series 3–1, rallied from a 72–65 deficit with 4:42 remaining. Chicago scored the next nine points and took a two-point lead on Stephanie Dolson’s layoff. He then added another basket and made it 76-72 with 45.8 seconds remaining.
Diana Taurasi was fouled for shooting a 3-pointer in the next possession and made the first two free throws, but missed the third.
Vandersluot opened the celebration with a goal in the lane to seal the win. As the last buzzer sounded, Parker ran to the corner of the court and hugged her family with tears in their eyes.
It was a full-circle moment for Parker, who returned to Chicago triumphantly this season after spending 13 years with Los Angeles. He has consistently been called the Sky’s missing piece during the playoffs, a label he proved accurate several times during Chicago’s illustrious run, winning the title as a six-seeded.
Brittany Griner was initially the focus of Phoenix’s offense. 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 build a 9-0 lead to finish the second quarter and give Phoenix a 44-37 lead at halftime.
Parker initially had trouble getting into rhythm with the offensive, going for one for six off the floor with only four points by the end of the first half.
Kahleh Copper, who was a force in the first four games of the final, earned the championship’s MVP honors.
Emotions were high for both teams from the start, as Taurasi and Sky forward Kahleh Copper were each struck by a technical fault within a 50-second span in the first quarter.
The Sky attracted a sell-out crowd, despite the Chicago Bears hosting the rival Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field just down the street. Chance the Rapper was once again in attendance to support his hometown team.