Albany Times Union

Parker brings 1st title to Sky

6th-seeded Chicago rallies from 14-point deficit to top Phoenix

- By Casey Drottar

Candace Parker returned home to bring Chicago a championsh­ip. She did just that, leading the sixth-seeded Sky to the franchise’s first title.

Allie Quigley scored 26 points and Parker added 16 points, 13 rebounds and five assists as Chicago rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat the Phoenix Mercury 80-74 on Sunday in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals.

“This one is so sweet,” a champagne-soaked Parker said. “To do it with this group. I love this group, I love this team. And to do it here at home, it was just supposed to be.”

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 and set 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 amazing to just hug my dad and my mom,” Parker said. “It was just an amazing feeling to be from here and see so many people in the stands that have been supporting you since you started. It’s just a moment where you just have to really take it in.”

Parker triumphant­ly returned home to Chicago this season after 13 years in L.A.

Brittney Griner was a focal point of Phoenix’s offense early on. The seven-time All-star finished with 28 points, 18 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.

Yet, Quigley’s fourth-quarter outburst ultimately undid any attempts Phoenix could make to stave off eliminatio­n.

The Mercury players declined to come to the postgame news conference.

Kahleah Copper, who had been a force in the first three games of the finals, earned MVP honors.

The Sky drew a sellout crowd despite the Chicago Bears hosting rival Green Bay Packers just down the street at Soldier Field.

 ?? Paul Beaty / Associated Press ?? Candace Parker and coach James Wade embrace in the final seconds of the title win.
Paul Beaty / Associated Press Candace Parker and coach James Wade embrace in the final seconds of the title win.

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