For the first time in team history, the Chicago Sky are WNBA champions, erasing a 14-point second half deficit to beat the Phoenix Mercury 80-74 in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals.
Candace Parker, a Naperville-native who signed with the Sky in the offseason, had 16 points and 13 rebounds to go along with five assists and four steals in the clinching effort.
Chicago area-native Allie Quigley had a huge game, burying five three-pointers and leading the team with 26 points. Courtney Vandersloot came up one rebound shy of a triple-double, with 10 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds for the Sky.
Stefanie Dolson made back-to-back buckets to give the Sky the lead late in the fourth quarter, and finished with eight points in the game.
Brittney Griner scored 28 points for the Mercury, and Brianna Turner had five points and 12 rebounds. Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi each scored 16 points for the Mercury.
A tightly-played first quarter left the Sky behind by three points, then Stefanie Dolson hit an early lay-up in the second to pull Chicago back within one. Buckets by Vandersloot and Copper later in the frame gave Chicago a brief lead, but five points from Griner and buckets from Brianna Turner and Diggins-Smith helped Phoenix to finish the half strong, giving them a seven point lead at the intermission.
After Allie Quigley cut the Phoenix lead to four points early in the third quarter, the Mercury began to pull away. Griner continued her strong night as she buried a pair of two-pointers to extend the Phoenix lead back out to 10, and then Diggins-Smith knocked in a pair of baskets to make it a 59-45 game with three minutes to go in the quarter.
In the blink of an eye, the Sky responded, with Candace Parker hitting a three-pointer and then finishing off a fast break by receiving a pass from Vandersloot and putting down a lay-up to cut the Phoenix lead to 59-50. Parker then popped in a pair of free throws, and Diamond DeShields did the same as Chicago made it a 59-54 game late in the third.
The energy was quickly sucked out of Wintrust Arena in the closing seconds of the third, as Taurasi drew a blocking foul on Parker and buried a pair of free throws. Turner then stole the ball from Vandersloot and fed it to Diggins-Smith, who made a running jumper to give Phoenix back a nine-point lead after three quarters.
Allie Quigley buried a pair of three-pointers early in the fourth quarter, and although the Mercury had a few answers back on offense, Quigley just couldn’t miss from long-range, raining in another three to cut the lead to 70-65 with 5:43 remaining in the game.
That deficit went by the wayside with two minutes to go when Parker bombed in a three-pointer, and then the Sky electrified the crowd when Dolson hauled in a pass and put in a lay-up to make it a 74-72 game with 1:22 left to go in the contest.
Dolson wasn't done impacting the game, as Vandersloot notched her 15th assist of the game on a lay-up by the Olympic gold medalist, pushing Chicago's lead to four with less than 46 seconds to go.
Taurasi was fouled on a three-point attempt with 42 seconds remaining, but she could only make two of the free throws, making it a 76-74 game.
Just as she's done so many times this season, Vandersloot took over when her team needed her, knocking down a fadeaway jumper to extend the lead back to four.
The Sky ultimately won the game by six points after a pair of late free throws, clinching the franchise's first-ever WNBA title.
The series marked the second time that the Sky have reached the Finals, as they lost to the Mercury back in the 2014 series.