ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — Candace Parker scored 29 points and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Chicago Sky 95-75 on Tuesday night to advance to the WNBA Finals.
Kristi Toliver added 21 points and league MVP Nneka Ogwumike had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Sparks, who led by as much as 28 and won the semifinal series 3-1.
They will face the defending champion Minnesota Lynx in a best-of-5 series for the league title. The top-seeded Lynx swept Phoenix in the other semifinal and will be going for their fourth title in six years. The second-seeded Sparks return to the finals for the first time since 2003 after winning championships in 2001 and 2002 with Lisa Leslie.
Cappie Pondexter scored 19 points and rookie Imani Boyette had 15 to lead the fourth-seeded Sky. Clarissa Dos Santos had 14 points and Jessica Breland added 12. Chicago played without 2015 MVP and leading scorer Elena Delle Donne, who has a thumb injury.
The Sparks won the first two games of the series by an average of 17.5 points before the Sky took Game 3 70-66 on Sunday.
After shooting 6-of-33 from beyond the arc in Game 3, the Sparks made 9 of their 13 3-pointers Tuesday. Toliver hit all four of her 3s.
The Sparks shot 55 percent from the field and made 28 of their 30 free throws — including 14 of 15 by Parker.
The Sky went on a 19-9 run to pull within 10 in the third quarter. Pondexter scored 10 points in the period to help Chicago rally. The Sky got within eight on Erika de Souza's layup before Parker scored the next eight points on a 3-pointer and five free throws to put the game away.
Los Angeles made 12 of its 16 shots in the second quarter and built the lead to 28. The Sparks outscored the Sky 32-20 in the quarter to take a 55-31 halftime advantage. Parker led the Sparks with 13 points, Toliver had 12 and Ogwumike added 10 by the half.
The Sparks led 23-11 after the first quarter after holding the Sky to 5-for-19 shooting.
Delle Donne missed her 10th consecutive game after undergoing thumb surgery on Sept. 13. She was in street clothes on the bench.
The first year of the post-Elena Delle Donne era for the Chicago Sky did not go well.
The Sky limped to a 12-22 record without the former WNBA MVP and scoring champ. As the Bulls are about to experience, the upside of a losing season is a high draft pick the next year.
The Sky had the third and fourth picks in the draft, which took place on Thursday, and snagged a pair of players from powerhouse programs in women's college basketball.
At No. 3 the Sky picked up Diamond DeShields from Tennessee. She led the Lady Vols in scoring in the 2016-17 season, but that was her junior year. She elected to sign overseas with Cukurova in Turkey instead of playing out her final year of eligibility. The New York Times profiled her just ahead of the WNBA draft.
Oh, and she's also the daughter of former major leaguer Delino DeShields and her brother, Delino DeShields Jr., is currently an outfielder for the Texas Rangers.
At No. 4, the Sky picked up UConn forward Gabby Williams. Williams started every game in each of the last two seasons for the Huskies, which went undefeated in the regular season and made the Final Four both of those seasons.
ROSEMONT — Jonquel Jones scored 19 of her career-high 23 points in the second half and finished with 21 rebounds to help the Connecticut Sun beat the Chicago Sky 97-79 on Sunday night.
Jones, who set her previous career best of 20 rebounds on May 13, became the 12th player in WNBA history with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game. Alyssa Thomas had 17 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals and Lynetta Kizer scored 16 with seven rebounds for Connecticut (1-4), which won its first game of the season.
Kizer’s jumper midway through the first quarter made it 14-13 and the Sun led the rest of the way. Jessica Breland hit two free throws to pull Chicago (1-5) within four with 4:37 left in the third, but Jones scored seven points during a 10-3 run over the next three-plus minutes and the Sky got no closer.
Tamera Young led Chicago with 17 points. She has at least one made 3-pointer in each of the last five games after going nearly five calendar years (June 23, 2011) since her last 3.