Guard Kahleah Copper's strong offensive performance Friday night helped the Chicago Sky get one game closer to winning the team's first WNBA title.
After Wednesday's overtime loss to the Phoenix Mercury, Chicago Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot said she wanted to put on a show for the Sky's first home game in the WNBA Finals. Well, mission accomplished.
In what Vandersloot called a "pivotal game", the Sky defeated the Mercury 86-50 in front of a sold-out crowd at Wintrust Arena. The 36-point margin is the new biggest margin of victory in WNBA Finals history.
The Sky dominated the first half both offensively and defensively, leading Phoenix 46-24. Copper found her rhythm early in the first half and led the offense with 20 points, finishing with a game-high 22 points on the night. Candace Parker and Vandersloot also delivered early, helping the Sky outscore Phoenix 24-2 in the paint by the end of the second quarter.
"You have players that work, but you have players like Kah (Copper) that really put in the work and you see it right away," Sky head coach James Wade said. "Her competitiveness, that's what it takes to get to the next level.
"So it's no surprise to us because we know what we have in her. Now she's letting the world know. It's just who she is."
The defense held Mercury star center Brittney Griner to just four points in the first half.
"Defensive activity was really good," Wade said. "I thought that we were very active and we were connected. You saw a lot of covering for each other, a lot of communication. I think it created easy opportunities for us. We were able to turn them over and score out of those turnovers and I was pretty proud of that."
Defeating the Mercury puts the Sky up 2-1 in the Finals. The team has a chance to win its first championship in front of another sold-out crowd for Game 4.
Prior to the Game 3 match-up, Vandersloot was named to the All-WNBA second team for the third time in her career. In Game 2, she led the offense with 20 points, 14 assists and had a running lay-up to tie the game with 4.4 seconds remaining.
In Friday night's game, Vandersloot recorded the most assists in a single postseason (87) in WNBA history.
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This is the second time in franchise history that the Sky have made it to the WNBA Finals. The Sky played the Mercury in 2014 for the Sky's first appearance in the WNBA Finals, but lost to the Mercury in a three-game sweep for the title.
"I was telling my team I'm 0-2 in Game 4 closeout at home," said Parker, who's looking to win her second WNBA career championship. "I don't want that to continue. We know that they're a fantastic team and they're gonna come in and they're gonna be ready. They're gonna get rest and they're gonna come back stronger. We got to do our part.
"We're gonna enjoy it today and then back to business tomorrow."
The Sky look to get revenge this time on the Mercury and bring their first championship home Sunday at Wintrust Arena.