The Sky Annihilated The Liberty To Force A Winner-Take-All Game 3

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Only one lower-seeded team won their first game in the 2022 WNBA playoffs, and it came as quite a shock. The seventh seeded New York Liberty were relentless in Game 1 of their series against the defending champion Chicago Sky and managed to pick up a stunning win, putting the Sky on the ropes ahead of Game 2 of the best-of-3 series.

On Saturday afternoon, Chicago responded with a champion’s effort, getting the fans at Wintrust Arena engaged from the very beginning en route to the most emphatic WNBA playoff win we’ve ever seen. The game seemed over by the time the two sides went into the locker room for halftime, and when the dust settled, the Sky forced a Game 3 with a 100-62 win that set the WNBA record for the largest margin of victory in playoff history.

Chicago came out angry to start Game 2, winning the first quarter 31-10 while ending the frame scoring 10 unanswered points. Kahleah Copper, in particular, was magnificent early on, scoring as many points in the first than the Liberty as a team.

The Sky’s defense, meanwhile, was relentless from the jump. No New York player scored more than two points in the quarter, they turned the ball over eight times, and as a team, the Liberty shot 4-for-16 (25 percent) from the field and missed all of their attempts from three. They just could not get anything going with how Chicago blitzed them on that end of the floor, something that carried on for the remainder of the game.

By the time the two teams went into the locker room at half, the Sky made it clear they had no plans of seeing their season end on Saturday. They found themselves up at the break, 52-28, behind 12 points from Copper, nine points and four boards from Courtney Vandersloot, and 17 points off the bench from Rebekah Gardner and Azura Stevens.

This came despite Chicago shooting 2-for-11 from three, as they managed to dominate basically everywhere else. As a team, New York shot 9-for-30 from the field, turned it over 13 times, and got outrebounded by nine boards. Their leading scorer in the half, Sabrina Ionescu, had seven points, but the team was outscored by 18 points in the 17 minutes she was on the floor.

The second half was much of the same. Chicago led by as many as 42 points in the third quarter and never let New York get within 35 in the fourth. Between the defensive effort and their ability to get shot after shot at the rim — the Sky nearly had as many points in the paint (60) as the Liberty had as a team — it’s hard to imagine how this game could have gone any better for the home side.

Copper’s 20 points led all scorers, while Vandersloot went for 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Candace Parker had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Stevens had 14 off the bench. It was an afternoon to forget for basically everyone on New York, as no one in the starting lineup reached double-digit points.

If there is a silver lining for the Liberty, it’s that they get to host the win-or-go-home Game 3 at the Barclays Center. That is slated to tip off on Tuesday, Aug. 23, while the tip time and television information are to be announced.


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