Candace Parker was hit in the left eye with an elbow early in Game 3. She yelled as she tried to gather herself while standing under the basket: “Oh, that’s what we’re going to do?”
Overall, it’s been a tense series between the two stars. It’s a sign of how badly both clubs want to make it to the WNBA Finals. However, on Sunday, the Sun committed a critical error by agitating a player of Parker’s caliber in the first minutes of the game.
With 16 points and 11 boards, Parker concluded with her 27th postseason double-double, matching Tamika Catchings for the most all-time. In addition to her 12 points and 6 boards, Courtney Vandersloot dished out 5 assists, moving her over Diana Taurasi into third place on the all-time postseason assist record. The bench for Sky scored 17 points, with four players reaching double digits.
The Sky needs one more win to reach the WNBA Finals for a second straight year. Parker told his team after the game, “The job’s not completed.”
After taking the first game of both the semifinal and championship series last season, the Sky returned to Wintrust Arena for Games 4 of both series. This time around, though, the series will flip as the Sky will have to close things up at Mohegan Sun Arena on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Candace Parker has notched her 27th career playoff double-double, tying Tamika Catchings for the most in WNBA playoff history pic.twitter.com/Yi69WWXvYm
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 4, 2022
The Sun, meanwhile, find themselves back in familiar territory, behind the Sky by a score of 2-1 in the semi-finals. To force Game 5 on Thursday at Wintrust Arena, they need to win on Tuesday.
The team of head coach Curt Miller has been fretting over the dwindling time left to win a championship. They’ve fallen in the Finals twice in the last three years, both times to the Mystics this year.
Both the Sky and the Sun concluded the regular season as the best two teams in field goal percentage. As a result of this series, though, both clubs have posted two of their lowest ratings of the season.
The Sky’s field goal percentage of 35.3% in Game 1 was their lowest for a postseason game since 2014. Game 2 saw a rise to 50.8% shooting accuracy as a response. Game 3 was the second consecutive game in this series in which both sides battled, and the poor performance was again attributable to poor defensive play.
During the regular season, the Sun and the Sky’s defensive ratings were second and fourth, respectively. In Game 3, the Sun committed a playoff-high 17 turnovers. The Sky have generated 30 turnovers in their last two contests. Sunday’s game between the Sun and the Sky ended with the Sky scoring 17 points due to the Sun’s 17 miscues.
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 4, 2022
There were 11 ties and 12 different leaders throughout the game. Midway through the third quarter, the Sky had a seven-point lead, 49-42, the largest of the game.
After Kahleah Copper made a three-pointer to put her team up 66-64, the teams remained tied for over five minutes. Emma Meesseman ended the scoreless drought for both sides with her goal and said she was motivated to keep playing aggressively because of the way the two teams had competed all season.
Meesseman ended the game with 13 points, 6 dimes, 5 picks, and 3 boards. With nine points in the fourth, Copper led the Sky in scoring. He finished with fifteen points, five rebounds, and one steal.
When Parker became a free agent, he was no longer bound by any team. She opted out of her 13th season with the Sparks and into a 2-year contract with the Chicago Sky. In the Sky, she was able to play somewhat closer to home while still being able to challenge for another title.
Statement by Parker “My parents and I settled in Chicago when I was a little child, and it was there that I first picked up a basketball and fell in love with the sport. I can’t wait to write the next chapter of my professional life in the place where it all began. I want to say hello to my new friends and family at the team, the organization, and the supporters.”
During the season, Parker was recognized by a group of media members and pioneers in women’s basketball as one of the 25 players to be inducted into The W25, an honor reserved for the best and most influential players in the league’s first quarter-century.
After a successful regular season, Parker’s Sky earned the number six seed and a berth in the playoffs. They took the 2021 WNBA championship by beating the Phoenix Mercury in five games after winning two elimination games and shocking the Connecticut Sun in the semifinals.
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