Chicago Sky win first WNBA title


AP Photo | Paul Beaty

Chicago Sky head coach James Wade, center, celebrates with Candice Parker, right, and Kahleah Copper, left, after defeating the Phoenix Mercury in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals to become champions Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Chicago.

By Northern Star Staff

DeKALB — For the first time in franchise history, the Chicago Sky are WNBA champions thanks to an 80-74 comeback victory in game four Sunday over the Phoenix Mercury.

Center and two-time league MVP Candice Parker scored 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to bring her hometown team a championship in her first season in Chicago. Parker also had the tying three-point basket with 1:57 remaining.

After running to celebrate with her family following the final buzzer, the Naperville native Parker spoke on winning a championship in her hometown.

“It feels amazing,” Parker said in a post-game interview with ESPN. “My high school coach is watching. I know (the late Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summit) is watching. I got the whole city here, we got the whole city here. It’s amazing how Chicago supports us. We’re champions for life now.”

Trailing by seven with under five minutes in the game, the Sky rallied off a nine-point run to take the lead late. Chicago guard and DePaul alumna Allie Quigley led the team’s scoring with 26 points. 11 of those points came in the fourth quarter. 

“This crowd got me going,” Quigley said during the trophy ceremony. “My teammates always get me going, always telling me I’m the best shooter in the world…Everyone in this building gave me confidence.”

Kahleah Cooper was named Finals MVP for her scoring, averaging 17 points per game in the finals and leading the Sky in scoring in their first two victories of the series.

Backup center Stefanie Dolson had the go-ahead layup with 1:22 remaining, finishing with eight points. Guard Courtney Vandersloot had a double-double with 10 points and 15 assists.

The Sky, who entered the playoffs as the sixth seed, won game one of the Finals’ series in Phoenix 91-77 on Oct. 10. Phoenix’s only victory of the series came in game two on Wednesday, edging out the Sky in overtime 91-86. 

In front of a sold-out Wintrust Arena in Chicago, the Sky blew out the Mercury 86-50 in game three Friday night, setting up the deciding game.