The Chicago Sky haven't played in the WNBA Finals since 2014, but the stage certainly didn't appear too big for them on Sunday afternoon as they knocked off the Phoenix Mercury 91-77 in Game 1 of the best-of-five series.
Six Sky scorers hit double figures, including Kahleah Copper, who continued her strong playoff push with a double-double in Game 1, scoring 21 points and hauling down 10 rebounds.
Courtney Vandersloot was banged up in the fourth quarter, but had a strong game overall. She put up a double-double, with 12 points and 11 assists to her credit to go along with five rebounds.
Azure Stevens and Candace Parker, both of whom were going to be tasked with trying to stop a dominant Mercury squad on the boards, certainly did just that, as they both had eight rebounds apiece. Parker also chipped in with 16 points.
Stefanie Dolson had one of her best games of the postseason off the bench, scoring 14 points and knocking down a pair of three-pointers.
The Sky trailed by five after the first quarter of the game, but they came out firing in the second quarter, outscoring Phoenix 26-10 and seizing an 11-point lead at halftime.
Azura Stevens scored four quick points off the bench, and Candace Parker scored seven points in the frame as the Sky raced out to a 46-35 advantage after 20 minutes of action.
The third quarter was largely split between the two teams, with the Sky seemingly answering every Phoenix attempt at a rally, but Chicago began to turn the screws in a big way in the fourth quarter.
Stefanie Dolson made a floating jumper and an alley-oop lay-up to put Chicago up by 15 points with eight minutes remaining in the game, and Kahleah Copper made two free throws and a three-point field goal to push Chicago’s lead to 20 with six and a half minutes remaining in the game.
Game 2 of the series is set for Wednesday night in Phoenix, with tip-off scheduled for 8 p.m. on ESPN.