The Chicago Sky are one win away from making the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2014. The Sky successfully defended their home court on Sunday afternoon in Game 3 of their semifinal series against the Connecticut Sun with an 86-83 victory.
For a moment, it did not look like the Sky would be able to hold off the side with the best record in the league despite the game taking place at Wintrust Arena. While things were tight for essentially all of the first three quarters, Connecticut managed to get a little bit of breathing room at the start of the fourth. The Sun went on a 10-2 run to give themselves an eight-point lead after league MVP Jonquel Jones made a layup a little less than 90 seconds into the final frame.
And then, the floodgates open. After Allie Quigley drew a foul while shooting a three and drained all three free throws on the ensuing Sky possession, Chicago ripped off an 18-4 run to go up by six. As was the case for much of the game, Kahleah Copper came up gigantic during this stretch, scoring nine of her playoff career-high 26 points during this spell.
The Sky defense was swarming during this stretch, forcing five turnovers and making the Sun’s offense get all out of whack. But Connecticut kept battling, consistently getting the lead down to one possession. Alyssa Thomas, in particular, was a thorn in Chicago’s collective side, scoring seven of the team’s nine points down the stretch.
Ultimately, Connecticut just couldn’t get over the hump, with Chicago’s defense rising to the occasion on multiple possession down the stretch when the Sun looked like they were in a position to go ahead. There was one opportunity that will stick out above the rest, though: With the team down by one and the game in its waning moments, Connecticut’s defense swarmed Allie Quigley and Jasmine Thomas forced a turnover. The ball was thrown ahead to Briann January, who had a layup but looked to misjudge the angle, and as a result, her attempt at an up-and-under hit off the backboard and fell into the arms of Courtney Vandersloot.
— TimeoutSPORTS__ (@TimeoutSPORTS3) October 3, 2021
Copper’s 26 points on 9-for-14 shooting led the way for Chicago, with Quigley pitching in 21 and both Azura Stevens and Candace Parker registering double-doubles — the former had 15 points and 11 rebounds, the latter had 10 and 10. DeWanna Bonner’s 22 points were the most for Connecticut, with Thomas scoring 18 off the bench and Jones having the same double-double as Parker.
The Sky will look to prevent the series from returning to Connecticut for a decisive Game 5 with one more game in their home building. That one’s slated to tip off on Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. EST on ESPN.