Chicago Sky advance to the WNBA Semifinals for the first time in five years


MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 26: The Chicago Sky huddle up after the game against the Minnesota Lynx during the 2021 WNBA Playoffs on September 26, 2021 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS – At the beginning of the season, many people thought this team would have enough to compete for their first WNBA Championship.

That was complicated at times during the 2021 season for the Chicago Sky as they dealt with injuries and inconsistent play in finishing with a 16-16 record. It got them in the playoffs, but set up a difficult road to the title with a pair of single-elimination games just to reach the league semifinals.

But when they’ve needed it, the fully healthy group is reaching their potential at just the right time, taking a step on Sunday that only two other teams have in franchise history.

In a second round elimination game, the Sky pulled away in the second half to an 89-76 victory over the Lynx at the Target Center in Minneapolis. It came after winning their first round “win-or-go-home” game against the Wings at Wintrust Arena on Thursday, and puts them in the WNBA Semifinals against the top-seeded Connecticut Sun.

Like their first round win over Dallas, a balanced effort helped the Sky to pick up a second-straigth postseason victory with five players in double-figures. Courtney Vandersloot led the charge with a team-high 19 points and five assists while Kahleah Copper had 16 and a team-best ten rebounds.

Azura Stevens (15 points), Diamond DeShields (14 points), and Allie Quigley (11 points) also were in double digits for the Sky. Parker had eight points, four rebounds, and three assists in 28 minutes.

This marks the third time that the Sky have made it to the “Final Four” of the WNBA Playoffs, last doing it in 2016 when Elena Delle Donne was with the team. In that season, they beat Atlanta in the single-elimination second round game before losing to Candace Parker’s Sparks in the semifinals as they went onto win the championship.

Two years earlier, when the playoffs were in the conference format, the Sky reached the East Finals and beat the Indiana Fever before losing to the Phoenix Mercury in what remains their only WNBA Finals appearance.

The best-of-five series with the Sun begins on Tuesday in Connecticut at Mohegan Sun Arena with Game 2 also being played at the venue at 7 PM. Wintrust Arena would host the next two games, with the third contest being played Sunday at Noon. If necessary, Game 4 would be Wednesday, October 6th in Chicago with a deciding Game 5 on Friday, October 8th in Connecticut.

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