WNBA Finals

WNBA Finals: Sky, Mercury Set to Square Off in Game 1 of Series

The Chicago Sky have been on a roll during the WNBA playoffs, and they’ll hope to continue that momentum on Sunday when they take on the Phoenix Mercury in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals.

This year marks just the second-ever appearance for the Sky in the Finals, with the Mercury defeating them for the championship back in 2014.

This year’s Sky squad finished in sixth place in the league standings, but they’ve gotten on a hot streak in the postseason, knocking off the Dallas Wings and Minnesota Lynx in the first two rounds of the playoffs. They then took down the top-seeded Connecticut Sun in four games in the semifinals, setting up their showdown with the Mercury.

Kahleah Copper has been a huge factor for the Sky so far in the postseason, averaging 18.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. She was the team’s leading scorer in their opening round win over Dallas, and she put up 26 points in a Game 3 win over the Sun in Game 3 of the semifinal round.

Candace Parker, a Naperville-native who joined the Sky for the 2021 season, has lived up to her legendary status, averaging 13.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and five assists per game through the first six games of postseason play.

She’s been backed up on the boards by Azura Stevens, who is averaging 10.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest.

In all, the Sky have a well-balanced offense, with five players averaging double-figures in scoring during the playoffs. Courtney Vandersloot has been the field general for the offense, with 8.7 assists per game to her credit through six games.

The big key for the Sky will be to work hard on the boards, as the Mercury have two of the best rebounders in the game. Brianna Turner, averaging a double-double so far in the postseason with 10.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, has been a dominant force in the paint for Phoenix, and she’s also averaging two blocks per game for good measure.

Brittney Griner, one of the league’s best scorers, has also been strong down low, with 9.7 rebounds and two blocks per game for the Mercury. She’s also in the top-five in the league in scoring during these playoffs, with 21 points per contest.

That battle will be key for the Sky if they want to finish off a championship run, but they’ll also have to shut down the high-flying scoring duo of Griner and Diana Taurasi if they want to capture that crown. Taurasi is also averaging nearly 20 points per game, giving the Mercury two of the top scorers in the league during the playoffs.

Game 1 of the series is set for Sunday afternoon, with tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m. on ABC.

Game 2 of the series will be played Wednesday, with the series shifting to Chicago for Games 3 and 4 beginning on Friday night.

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