The Chicago Sky dismantled the Phoenix Mercury on their own court in a Game 1 blowout win, 91-77. They now hold a 1-0 lead in the best-of-5 WNBA Finals. Every part of the Sky’s machine worked in tandem while the absences of the Mercury’s Kia Nurse (torn ACL) and Sophie Cunningham (calf strain) were evident.
During a third quarter intermission, Phoenix star Diana Taurasi was asked about fatigue, and bluntly dropped, “we’re not tired, we’re just getting our ass kicked.”
Not a single lie was told.
Here are three reasons why the Sky can keep this momentum rolling.
1. Courtney Vandersloot is the ultimate chess player ♟
Vandersloot’s long been one of the WNBA’s most impressive point guards, but in the 2021 playoffs, it’s crystal clear she’s the best passer in the world. She’s freeing teammates for easy buckets they don’t even see at first glance. On Sunday, she became the first player to ever record 10 points, 10 assists and five rebounds without a single turnover. WILD!
If the Mercury aren’t able to read passing lanes, Vandersloot will continue to pick this team apart. Vandersloot’s over/under on assists is set at a whopping 8.5 for Game 2. For the regular season, only one player averaged that many assists per game or more: Courtney Vandersloot.
2. Candace Parker as a secondary playmaker is almost unfair 🏀
Even in Year 14, Parker is bullying opponents on the boards and threading the needle to find slashers darting the other way. When Vandersloot takes a breather, Parker steps into her role as a 6’4 big with ease. Phoenix gets no breaks.
Most squads would be lucky to have one player who can create easy scores for teammates at the rate Parker and Vandersloot do. Together, they’re nearly impossible to slow down for an entire 40-minute game. Parker’s over/under for points is set at 12.5 for Game 2.
3. Kahleah Copper is the breakout star of the playoffs ⭐️
Copper’s been excellent all year, but playoff basketball is a different beast, and oh, wait, she’s still owning the floor there, too. The guard is averaging 18.6 points per game on 53.3% shooting while averaging 5.9 rebounds. Her energy is unwavering.
There’s no good choice for Phoenix to leave open on defense. Copper’s over/under for points is set at a team-high 16.
The Takeaway 🎲
The Sky are favored to win the series (-200) and for good reason. If you feel Game 1 set a pace the Mercury can’t catch up with, feel confident wagering on Chicago to win it all.