The Chicago Sky made the trek to Phoenix on Sunday for Game 1 of the WNBA Finals against the Mercury, as the 6-seed took on the 5-seed in a matchup of teams that have had to grind through the entirety of the WNBA playoff format.

In the first quarter, the Mercury took early control at home, leading by as many as nine in the opening period and took a five-point advantage into the second quarter. However, it was in that second quarter that the Sky took over, going on a 17-0 run to turn a 29-33 deficit into a 46-33 lead in just under five minutes of game time. Candace Parker led the way in that stretch with seven points, as the Sky locked down on defense and turned around and ran beautiful offense on the other end to extend a double-digit lead into halftime.

Parker finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks, as the future Hall of Famer did a little bit of everything for the Sky. Allie Quigley added 18 points and Courtney Vandersloot had 12 points and 11 assists, but it was Kahleah Copper (21 points, 10 rebounds) who did the most damage in the second half to help the Sky extend their lead out to 20 and effectively put away the Mercury with sharp shooting (2-of-4 from deep) and flat out out-working Phoenix.

Also playing a big role for the Sky was Stefanie Dolson, as she came in and provided a different look for Britney Griner, who still put up 20 points, six rebounds, and three assists, but wasn’t nearly as impactful as she had been throughout these playoffs. Dolson’s combination of size inside and her ability to pull Griner out of the paint on the other end, spacing the floor by hitting 2-of-3 from deep on her way to 14 points, proved to be a wrinkle that the Mercury weren’t quite ready for in the opener.

Phoenix would pull back to within 12 late in the fourth, but could never mount much of a real threat to the Sky in the second half, losing 91-77, as they’ll have plenty to work out before Game 2 on Tuesday. They got some quality production out of Griner, Diana Taurasi (17 points), and Skylar Diggins-Smith (15 points), but need to get some of their others going and, most importantly, have to find a way to disrupt the Sky better on offense, because Chicago was able to get to their spots and produce good looks far too easily for Phoenix’s liking.

Source: https://uproxx.com/dimemag/sky-mercury-game-1-wnba-finals-video-highlights/

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