CHICAGO (AP) — Allie Quigley scored 26 points and Candace Parker added 16 points, 13 rebounds and five assists to help Chicago win its first WNBA championship with a 80-74 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday.
Courtney Vandersloot added 10 points and 15 assists for the Sky, who won the series 3-1, rallying from a 72-65 deficit with 4:42 left. Chicago scored the next nine points to take a two-point lead on Stefanie Dolson’s layup. She then added another basket to make it 76-72 with 45.8 seconds left.
Diana Taurasi was fouled on the next possession shooting a 3-pointer and made the first two free throws, but missed the third.
Vandersloot then scored in the lane to seal the victory setting off the celebration. As the final buzzer sounded, Parker sprinted to the corner of the court and hugged her family with tears in her eyes.
It was a full-circle moment for Parker, who triumphantly returned home to Chicago this season after spending 13 years with Los Angeles. She has been continually called the Sky’s missing piece throughout the playoffs, a label she proved accurate many times during Chicago’s stunning run, winning the title as a six-seed.
Brittney Griner was a focal point of Phoenix’s offense early on. The seven-time All-Star finished the game with 28 points, 18 of which came in the first half. Griner and guard Skylar Diggins-Smith helped lead a 9-0 run to finish the second quarter and give Phoenix a 44-37 edge at halftime.
Parker initially had trouble getting into a rhythm offensively, going one for six from the floor with just four points by the end of the first half.
Kahleah Copper, who had been a force in the first four games of the finals, earned MVP honors of the championship.
Emotions were high for both teams right from the start, as Taurasi and Sky forward Kahleah Copper were each hit with technical fouls within a 50-second span in the first quarter.
The Sky drew a sell-out crowd despite the Chicago Bears hosting the rival Green Bay Packers just down the street at Soldier Field. Chance the Rapper was once again in attendance to support his hometown team.