The Chicago Sky improved to 11-1 after a loss and 2-0 in the playoffs after Candace Parker led the defending champs to an 85-77 win over the Connecticut Sun.
Parker headlined Chicago’s five double-digit scorers with a 22-point, four-rebound, four-assist, and three-block performance. Emma Meesseman poured in 14 points, seven rebounds, and three dimes, and Allie Quigley contributed 13 points, followed by 10 points, four boards, and two assists from Kahleah Cooper. Courtney Vandersloot rounded out Chicago’s double-digit scorers with 10 points, eight helpers, one block, and one steal.
“When you have generational talents (like Parker), they’re just too good, too dominant,” Coach James Wade said per the Chicago Tribune. “Great wine just ages well. — You can’t put an age on that. What did Aaliyah say? Age ain’t nothing but a number.”
Parker also held the Sun to just six second-chance bucks on seven total offensive boards. Wade contributed that effort to Chicago’s will and physicality. Parker summed it up as Chicago simply making “shots hard” for the Sun.
Candace Parker helped Chicago get the DUB:— WSLAM (@wslam) September 1, 2022
➡️ 22 points
➡️ 4 rebounds
➡️ 4 assists
Series is tied 1-1 👀 pic.twitter.com/K1WPbLwKz2
While the win ties up the semifinals at 1-1 between the Sky and Sun, Ace wants to see Chicago follow up the success with a better effort in Sunday’s Game 3. Playing your best basketball when your backs against the wall is a needed quality, but being able to dominate and establish your will from the beginning is even better.
“I think after a win is when we need to be even more focused,” Parker said per ESPN. “Come ready to play, come focused and come with the right mentality. I don’t think we had the right mentality in Game 1.”
The Sky responded well to Coach James Wade premonition that the team was “going to make shots” after shooting 35.3 percent in Game 1. On Wednesday, Chicago came out the gates, hitting six of their first 10 shots of the game, and finished the night shooting 32-63 from the field and 6-15 from beyond the arc. Chicago also hit 15-22 free throws.
Chicago held Connecticut to 45.7 percent shooting from the field. They also held DeWanna Bonner and Courtney Williams to eight points on a combined 3-16 shooting from the field. Jonquel Jones (23 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks) and Natasha Hiedeman (14 points and three assists against three turnovers) were the only double-digit scorers for the Sun. Connecticut never led after Jones hit a triple on the game’s first possession.
Wade also gave Parker props for her consistency and veteran leadership with championship experience since signing with Chicago last summer. Wade said he’s noticed that Parker has been especially ardent in her belief that Chicago can be the first repeat champs since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002.
“She wants to do everything in her power to get another championship,” Wade said. “And so that’s where I think you see, I wouldn’t say desperation, but urgency.”
Connecticut will host Game 3 and 4 on Sunday and Tuesday.