PHOENIX – After stealing home court advantage to tip off the series, the Sky are bracing for the Mercury’s best punch in Game 2.
“We know it’s going to be a slugfest, so we’re ready for a fight,” remarked head coach and general manager James Wade. “We know we’re in a good place and we want to stay there. We’re ready to fight to stay there. That’s how we’ll approach it.”
Expect three-time WNBA champion Diana Taurasi to come out swinging. The league’s all-time leading scorer managed 17 points in Game 1, playing a postseason-low 25 minutes due to foul trouble.
“Diana is going to be better, I think, next game,” noted Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot. “Obviously, you know how difficult it is to make things challenging for her. We expect some adjustments made offensively, maybe defensively. This is a chess match. It’s the Finals. It’s only been one game. We’re all making adjustments, but it’s all about coming down and doing it in the game.”
Candace Parker will likely help orchestrate those adjustments in her role as player-coach.
“She did it right when she got here,” explained Sky center Stefanie Dolson. “It became very natural for us. In practice, coach would say some things to us and then on sidelines – especially in the post section – she would talk to us like a coach, as well. We would listen. She’s very smart when it comes to the analytics of the basketball.”
“She’s played a long time and the one thing, when you have so much success early, is you figure out who you are. You trust everything. You know. You say it with a certain amount of certainty. As a coach, you can’t help but trust that when she says something. You have to listen and understand,” Wade added. “I have a lot of people helping me along this journey. She’s just a big part of it because she gets to execute on the floor.”
If the Sky can push past Phoenix, they’ll have a sellout crowd waiting for them in Game 3 at Wintrust Arena with a chance to clinch the franchise’s first title at home Friday night.
“Skytown – they want a winner. They want to be there when it happens. We’re going to do everything it takes, but right now I can’t think about Game 3 because Game 2 hasn’t happened,” smiled Wade.
“It’s huge to have the city behind us,” Vandersloot said. “We all want one thing and that’s to bring a championship to Chicago.”