Candice Parker She did almost everything she could to lead Sky to victory on Sunday night.
It wasn’t enough.
The Connecticut Sun She repelled a massive push in the fourth quarter, and a historic outing for Parker, to beat Sky 68-63 in Game 1 of the semifinal series at Wintrust Arena.
“A lot of offenses left from the four teams, and we know who we are,” said Sun coach Kurt Miller. via ESPN. “We’re blue collars. We’ll be good around the basket. We’ll bounce and we’ll stick our tails, but we have to make it messy. And we got a mess of the game tonight which was our advantage.”
After a dominant third quarter that limited Chicago to just 12 points as a team, Sun held onto an eight-point lead—the biggest in the game—and looked ready to go all the way.
But Heaven has other plans. Parker, who played every second of the last two quarters, pushed Chicago to an 11-2 lead and hooked things up again in the middle of the fourth quarter. Things even got a little worse during that run as well, and fans saw what must have been the longest jump ball seen all year.
This run, however, did not last long. The Sun finally found an answer for Parker and got Chicago scoreless in the 2:11th minute of the game. That allowed them to advance towards a five-point win and a 1-0 lead early on.
The Sun had started the night on a pit early as well, but it also responded with a massive 11-0 run that spanned nearly four minutes to lead briefly after the first quarter. The two teams then entered the first half tied at 34 after a whopping 20 minutes of Parker, who had nine points and eight rebounds in the first half. Although Sky had plenty of moments where they seemed ready to break up, they had seven first-half turnovers that resulted in 11 points for the Sun and kept things close.
Chicago star Courtney Vanderslot I finally climbed onto the board a few minutes into the third quarter after a triple pointer sank off the top of the switch, giving Sky a short lead. However, that disappeared within minutes after Sun’s 12-0 streak backed by deep pots from both Natisha Hedman And the Bonner’s office.
This round gave them an eight-point lead, which was the biggest in the game to date. The Sun finished third with a 14-2 aggregate score and kept Chicago at just 12 points in that period.
Bonner led the Sun with 15 points and nine rebounds, and was one of four players to score in double digits in a win. Alyssa Thomas Dropped 12 points and 10 rebounds and both Jonquil Jones And the Briona Jones He also added 12 points. Despite shooting about 23% from the 3-point streak, the Sun forced 11 turns and Chicago rebounded by 11.
Parker led Sky with 19 points and 18 rebounds in a historic game for the 36-year-old – who became the first player in league history to have 15 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and five blocks in a playoff.
Cooper, who turned 28 on Sunday, added 13 points for Chicago and Messman finished with 10. They were the only three who scored in double figures for the sky.
“I felt like we played their style,” said Sky coach James Wade. via ESPN. “They wanted us to play their style of play, which was slow and methodical, and we like to play a little more freely… We will be ready for it in the next game.”
WNBA semi-final table
Game 1: Sun 68, Sky 63
Game Two, Wednesday: Connecticut in Chicago, 8PM ET, ESPN2
Game Three, Sunday, September 4: Chicago, Connecticut, 1 p.m. EDT, ESPN2
Game 4*, Tuesday, September 6: Chicago, Connecticut, 8PM EST, ESPN2
Game 5*, Thursday, September 8: Connecticut in Chicago, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2