• Isabel Wade

WNBA Finals Goes to Chicago

With just seconds remaining in the final quarter of game 4, Courtney Vandersloot sank both free throws to give the Chicago Sky a six point lead over the Phoenix Mercury. The clock wound down to zero as tears welled in Candace Parker’s eyes and the Wintrust Arena's sold-out crowd erupted into cheers. Just like that, the Chicago Sky had won their first ever championship.

This wasn’t the team’s first time in the playoffs, for they’ve gone four other times starting in 2013 and ending in 2016 when they lost to the Los Angeles Sparks in the semifinals. But this didn’t stop them as they headed into the playoffs as the sixth seed in the 2021 season. Winning two single-elimination games and a huge 3-1 win over the first seed, the Connecticut Sun, in the semifinal series, they fought their way to the finals against the Mercury.

Everyone knew it would be a tough matchup, Diana Taurasi and Britney Griner against Candace Parker and Courtney Vandersloot. The first game went to Chicago in a 91-77 win on their home court. Phoenix responded in the second game, taking a win in overtime of 91-86. Game three proved to be easy for the Sky as they won 86-50. The final game, played in Chicago, took the team over the top as they slowly chipped away at what seemed like a definite lead for the Phoenix. Unable to hold on in the fourth quarter, the Chicago Sky won 80-74.

Candace Parker returned to her hometown in February of 2021, vowing she would win them a championship. She was a huge anchor for the team, averaging 13.3 points per game in the regular season and steady through the playoffs. While she was the X-factor for this Sky team, Kahleah Copper took home the trophy for Most Valuable Player. Averaging 18.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2 assists per game, she was the leading scorer for her team throughout the series. She was tough on the boards, always hustled, and showed great determination in the pursuit of the championship trophy. Just a girl from North Philly, the picture of her staring down Mercury player Sophie Cunningham will forever be known. Additionally, Courtney Vandersloot finished with a final count of 50 assists throughout the series, along with recognition for the second most assists in a finals game with 15. With this, Allie Quigley had 26 points in game four against the Mercury.

A tough and well deserved win, the Chicago Sky fought until the very end to see this championship through. With many players going overseas, we will have to wait until next summer for the new season. Look out for the Sky, as they are coming back with a hunger to add another trophy to their collection.