Wednesday, December 8, 2021

2021 WNBA Finals score: Sky rally past Mercury in Game 4 for first championship; Kahleah Copper named MVP

CHICAGO — For the first time ever, the Chicago Sky are WNBA champions. On Sunday, they pulled off a 14-point comeback to beat the Phoenix Mercury in Game 4 of the 2021 WNBA Finals, 80-74. Kahleah Copper, who averaged 17 points and 5.5 rebounds in the series, was named Finals MVP. 

“We stayed together,” Sky head coach James Wade said. “I guess it was a microcosm of our season where you go down, you go down, and you keep pushing, all right. Crowd was quiet but they were in it, and they were trying to give us energy, trying to give us energy, and any little thing we did they gave us more energy and gave us more energy, and we fed off of it, but we stayed together.”

As expected, there was a different intensity to this game, and the early stages were much more competitive than they were in Game 3. But toward the end of the first half, the Mercury were able to build a modest lead, thanks in large part to Brittney Griner. They expanded on it early in the third quarter, and for a brief period were threatening to run away with things. 

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That’s when Candace Parker stepped up and went on a personal 7-0 run to change the momentum and wake up the crowd inside Wintrust Arena. Early in the fourth, Allie Quigley continued Parker’s work with a number of 3-pointers, and the game was officially back on in earnest. 

“Yeah, without a doubt,” Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello said, “Allie made some really big shots for them, got them back into the game. We left her open, and she made them. Just had some little breakdowns at the wrong time.”

The final few minutes were a tense and hectic affair featuring big shots and mistakes on both sides. Unfortunately for the Mercury, they made more of the latter. The Sky, on the other hand, got a game-tying triple from Parker, followed by back-to-back buckets from Stefanie Dolson to give them the lead for good. With just 23.7 seconds remaining, Courtney Vandersloot then sealed the game with a crafty move and finish in the paint. 

Quigley, who made three of her five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, finished with 26 points to lead all scorers. Parker put up 16 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four steals, and made a number of big plays on the defensive end. Vandersloot went for 10 points, nine rebounds and 15 assists as she just missed her second triple-double of the postseason. 

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