Courtney Vandersloot scored 19 points to help the host Chicago Sky eliminate the top-seeded Connecticut Sun with a 79-69 victory Wednesday, October 6, to win their semifinal series, 3-1, and clinch a spot in the WNBA Finals.
Chicago will be making its second Finals appearance, having been swept by the Phoenix Mercury for the 2014 title.
The sixth-seeded Sky will face the winner of the other semifinal series between second-seeded Las Vegas Aces and the fifth-seeded Phoenix Mercury, which is headed to a winner-take-all Game 5.
Kahleah Copper added 18 points, Candace Parker totaled 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists, and Azura Stevens had 11 points and 7 boards for the Sky.
Chicago won both home games in the series after splitting the first two in Connecticut. The Sky beat the Sun in five out of seven meetings overall this season.
“It means so much,” said Parker, who grew up in nearby Naperville, Illinois, in a postgame interview with ESPN. “I grew up playing in front of these people – it really is emotional. I know we’re not done yet – we don’t want it to be done yet – but you sometimes have to stop and think and really appreciate this moment.”
WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones led all scorers with 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Sun. Natisha Hiedeman had 16 points and Jasmine Thomas scored 11 on off-nights from Connecticut All-Stars DeWanna Bonner (4 points) and Brionna Jones (6 points).
Connecticut fell short of its first Finals berth since losing to the Washington Mystics in five games in the 2019 title round. The Sun’s only other Finals appearances were losses in 2004 and 2005.
The Sky never trailed and led 54-41 at halftime. Connecticut pulled within seven on Jonquel Jones’ 24-foot three-pointer with 9:15 to play in the third before conceding an 11-0 run to fall behind 65-47. Chicago outscored the visitors 14-11 in the fourth.
Chicago opened the game on a 13-2 run and led 32-26 after the first quarter.
Sun starting guard Briann January was a game-day scratch due to an ankle injury. January averaged 10.7 points and 3 assists in the first three games of the series.
Aces use 24-0 run to even series vs Mercury
Chelsea Gray scored 22 points and the visiting Las Vegas Aces used a 24-0 third-quarter run to rout the Phoenix Mercury 93-76 on Wednesday night and force a decisive final game in the best-of-five semifinal series.
Kelsey Plum added 20 points, Riquna Williams scored 17, and A’ja Wilson had 15 points and 12 rebounds as the second-seeded Aces bounced back from consecutive lopsided losses. They will host Game 5 on Friday night with the winner advancing to the WNBA Finals to face the Chicago Sky beginning Sunday.
Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 14 each and Shey Peddy added 13 points to lead the fifth-seeded Mercury, but Brittney Griner scored just 13, making 6-of-19 field goal attempts while adding 8 rebounds.
Phoenix scored 29 points in the first quarter but had just 47 in the final three quarters.
The Mercury, already playing without key reserve Sophie Cunningham because of a calf injury, lost starting guard Kia Nurse to a knee injury less than a minute into the game.
The decisive run toward the start of the third quarter gave Las Vegas a 75-48 lead.
Kia Vaughn’s basket ended a seven-minute scoring drought for Phoenix, but Las Vegas held a commanding 78-57 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Mercury got off to a fast start for the fourth consecutive game, scoring the first 8 points and taking an 11-2 lead.
But the Aces bounced right back, pulling even at 11 on Plum’s three-pointer.
Peddy scored 5 points as Phoenix took a 23-16 lead, but Griner committed her second foul.
Plum had 2 assists and made a three-pointer as Las Vegas climbed within 29-24 by the end of the period.
Gray scored 10 second-quarter points and added an assist as the Aces took a 44-39 advantage.
Taurasi’s three-pointer pulled the Mercury even before Wilson’s basket and Dearica Hamby’s free throw gave Las Vegas a 49-46 halftime lead. – Rappler.com