Sport Mercury grind out Game 2 win in OT to even WNBA Finals, 1-1, heading to Chicago
WNBA Finals: Kahleah Copper, Sky dominate Mercury for 1-0 series lead
The Chicago Sky continued to prove their regular season was a fluke with a dominant showing in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals, taking a 91-77 win over the No. 5-seeded Phoenix Mercury at the Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix on Sunday. Game 2 of the best-of-five series is 9 p.m. ET Wednesday in Phoenix on ESPN. Courtney Vandersloot also had a double-double for the Sky with 12 points and 11 assists. The Sky’s balanced attack had six players score in double figures, matching a Finals record, according to Across The Timeline.
It had to be in the back of minds the entire game. Diana Taurasi, coming off a six-turnover Game 1 loss, had yet to make an impact.
In the first minutes of overtime, it hit hard. Taurasi opened the frame with a four-point play and protected a slim lead late with a steal and critical save that lifted the Phoenix Mercuryat Footprint Center in Phoenix on Wednesday night.
The WNBA Finals, a best-of-five series, head to the home of the Chicago Sky tied at 1-1.
Stand up Phoenix !!!!!!— Hannah Withiam (@HannahWithiam)
Taurasi scored eight of her game-total 20 points in overtime and hit the 3-pointer with 1:34 that proved the game-winning points after the Sky's quick five points gave them a one-point lead.
Chicago Sky overpower fatigued Phoenix Mercury to win Game 1 of WNBA Finals
The Sky used a 17-0 first-half run to roll to a 91-77 win over the Mercury, who were playing just 40 hours after closing out their semifinal series.The Chicago Sky, who last played Wednesday, took control with a 17-0 late second-quarter run Sunday at Footprint Center and led the entire second half in a 91-77 win.
Skylar Diggins-Smith laid in the game-sealing layup in extra time to lead the Mercury after Brittney Griner kept them in it all game.
Diggins-Smith scored 13 points with 12 assists and seven rebounds, while Griner led all scorers with 29 points, adding nine rebounds and two blocks. Shey Peddy scored 10 points off the bench.
Game 3 is at a sold-out Wintrust Arena in Chicago on Friday (9 p.m. ET on ESPN2).
Courtney Vandersloot forces OT, leads Sky
Phoenix took the 70-69 lead on an and-1 by none other than Griner, their go-to player all night. Quigley answered for Chicago with a 3-pointer in the corner off of classic Sky ball movement and momentum appeared to be swinging to them after a missed Mercury 3. But Candace Parker, who rebounded it and took it down the court, was stripped by Brianna Turner, who completed the bucket on the other end to tie it again, 72-72.
Phoenix Mercury guard Kia Nurse tears ACL, will miss remainder of WNBA playoffs
Phoenix Mercury guard Kia Nurse will miss the rest of the season and beyond with an ACL tear suffered Wednesday in the WNBA semifinals.The injury was feared to be serious when it occurred as she went up for a layup on a breakout and was blocked by the Aces' A'ja Wilson.
Griner and Vandersloot traded layups and the Sky failed to rebound multiple Mercury misses until Griner hit yet another shot on a massive night. Peddy added a bucket to go up by four.
Kahleah Copper, who paced the Sky in Game 1, put back a rebound and added the free throw to come within one with 14.7 seconds on the clock. They fouled Peddy, who missed the first of two.
Vandersloot tied it on a drive to the basket and Phoenix couldn't get a final shot as the inbound pass tipped off Griner's hands to Parker.
This bucket by— WNBA (@WNBA) takes it to OVERTIME on ‼️
Vandersloot was phenomenal for the Sky, which struggled from 3-point range and in getting to the free-throw line in the first half. The point guard had a 20-point, 14-assist double-double with five steals and three rebounds.20-point, 14-assist game in WNBA Finals history, per Her Hoop Stats.
Mercury players, led by known trash talker Diana Taurasi, decline to talk after WNBA Finals loss
While the Chicago Sky were celebrating their first WNBA championship in franchise history, the Phoenix Mercury players declined to comment and reportedly left Wintrust Arena on the team bus. The Mercury did not provide a reason why they would not answer questions from the media or give any postgame comments. Head coach Sandy Brondello did hold a postgame news conference and answered questions. After Sky head coach James Wade and Finals MVP Kahleah Copper met with the media, WNBA PR announced that Mercury players were declining to comment. Girls Talk Sports TV's Khristina Williams reported that the Mercury had left on the team bus shortly after the announcement.
Quigley added 19 points, but was 3-for-12 from 3-point range. Copper had 15 points with nine rebounds and Parker added 13 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Chicago had 19 turnovers to Phoenix's 13. It was a problem for both, but proved costly for Chicago in the end.
Chicago's third quarter
Chicago created separation with a 9-0 run in the third quarter that ultimately gave a 63-57 lead going into the fourth quarter. They won the quarter by the same six-point margin that determined each of the four regulation periods.
Trailing by four after Taurasi's third bucket of the night, Parker drilled a 3-pointer on an assist by Vandersloot. Quigley made both free throws, the first attempts of the night for the Sky, and Parker added a deep two and alley-oop from Vandersloot again.
It gave Chicago a 51-46 lead at the 5:44 mark and the sides began trading buckets to the six-point Sky lead by the fourth.
They were able to keep the distance until a Griner 6-footer and Taurasi warmed up with back-to-back 3-pointers for a one-point lead. It helped that a 3-pointer by Diamond DeShields was taken away after review ahead of the comeback. It was ruled a shot clock violation by a sliver plays later, bringing the then-nine-point lead down to six. It was a tight battle from then on out.
Strength In Numbers: Sky Take WNBA Finals Game 1 With Wealth of Scoring Talent
Six Chicago players finished in double figures as Candace Parker's squad took advantage of a Phoenix team coming off a quick semifinals turnaround. View the original article to see embedded media.PHOENIX — Just over 36 hours before Game 1 of the 2021 WNBA Finals tipped off, the Mercury found themselves locked in battle in a different city, against a different team and in an entirely different series. It took five grueling games to advance past the Aces in the league’s semifinals, a challenge made even more daunting by injuries to key contributors Sophie Cunningham and Kia Nurse.
Brittney Griner carries Mercury
Phoenix fed Griner for its first 10 points of the game that was only broken by a Peddy layup on a Chicago turnover. The streak included an arena-shattering dunkwho nearly did it again later in the game, but recognized the shot clock was too low. It was the first WNBA Finals dunk in league history.
A dunk in the WNBA Finals for BG! She's got 10 points on the board so far tonight.— Phoenix Mercury - X (@PhoenixMercury)
The run by Griner was enough time for Sophie Cunningham to get hot with two 3-pointers by the quarter's end and the Mercury trailed, 26-20.
The chippiness hit a peak midway through the second half on a chaotic sequence that culminated with Copper and Cunningham battling on the floor for a rebound. Cunningham had it on the ground and kept moving it around while Copper tried for the ball and snagged her arm around Cunningham's neck.
As officials and teammates ran in, Copper stood over Cunningham and they jarred. A common foul was called on the play.
2021 WNBA Finals schedule
Game 2:(Series tied, 1-1)
Game 3: Mercury at Sky, 9 p.m. ET Friday (ESPN2)
Game 4: Mercury at Sky, 3 p.m. ET Oct. 17 (ESPN)
Game 5: Sky at Mercury, 9 p.m. ET Oct. 19 (ESPN2) (if necessary)
Copper, Sky Finish Off Fairytale Title in Comeback Win .
Chicago put together a top-to-bottom team performance and stave off the Mercury to win its first ever WNBA title. View the original article to see embedded media.CHICAGO — For four bruising games, Sky forward Kahleah Copper was in perpetual motion. Like a pinball pinging off of any defenders in her way, she bounced off all those she contacted, finishing countless contested layups around the basket, all while pressing an internal turbo button to accelerate past Phoenix defenders who tried stopping her in transition. But with 10.