Wednesday, July 24, 2024

2022 WNBA Playoffs: Sky’s 38-point win over Liberty in Game 2 largest margin of victory in postseason history

Facing elimination, the defending champion Chicago Sky responded with a dominant 100-62 win over the New York Liberty on Saturday in Game 2 of their first-round series. In addition to evening the series at 1-1, the Sky’s 38-point win set a new record for the largest margin of victory in WNBA playoff history. 

“Our backs was against the wall,” Kahleah Copper said. “I don’t know how anybody else expected us to respond. We just wanted to come out and be a much better version of ourselves, and that’s what we did.”

Copper, who had to be helped off the court near the end of Friday’s practice due to an apparent ankle issue, appeared to be just fine. She poured in a game-high 20 points on 8 of 16 from the field, and was given the assignment to guard Sabrina Ionescu. With Copper applying tremendous pressure, Ionescu had an equal number of turnovers and made field goals — three. 

While Copper set the tone, she wasn’t the only one locked in on the defensive end. After getting picked apart in Game 1, the Sky’s focus, intensity and attention to detail was markedly better across the board. Together, they held the Liberty to 33.3 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers, which they converted into 25 points. 

“Chicago responded the way champion teams respond,” Liberty head coach Sandy Brondello said. “But our turnovers were just really silly, and through a lack of ball movement. I just don’t think we played together as a team — too much one-on-one.”

Chicago’s work on defense in turn fueled its offense. It was able to get out and run off of turnovers and missed shots, and rarely had to play against a set defense. The Sky shot 51.3 percent from the field, and had 28 assists on 40 made field goals. Including Copper, five players scored in double figures, and all 10 players who checked in made at least one shot. 

The series will now shift to New York for a winner-take-all Game 3 on Tuesday night. Despite being the lower-seeded team, the Liberty will have a chance to close things out on their home court, thanks to the league’s unique and controversial 2-1 format in the first round. 

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