CHICAGO – Another series, another deficit from the reigning WNBA champions in the 2022 playoffs.
After losing to the Liberty in Game 1 of the best-of-three first round series at Wintrust Arena, the Sky did so again to begin their WNBA semifinal against the Sun on Sunday evening.
In what was a defensive, physical contest, Connecticut was able to steal Game 1 68-63 to get home floor advantage in the best-of-five series. Once again, the Sky will have to rally in a series if they hope to become the WNBA’s first repeat champion in 20 years.
Here are a few ‘Stats To Look At” from this contest:
- Odds Are Against Them – But They Have Been Before
Winning Game 1 of a series is usually an indicator of who will win, and that’s no different in the WNBA, which typically plays short series.
Per Her Hoop Stats, teams that win Game 1 in a five-game WNBA Playoff series are 23-6 and in the five-game semifinal round, the victor of the first contest is 10-2.
But the Sky were able to overcome their Game 1 loss against the Liberty in a shorter series in the previous round to advance to the semifinal. In fact, they won Game 2 by 38 points at Wintrust Arena then won Game 3 in Brooklyn by 18, so an early disadvantage isn’t a problem for the Sky.
- The Sun Breaks Through
Sunday’s victory by Connecticut ended what was a long dry spell for them against their Eastern Conference foe.
Dating back to Game 3 of the 2021 WNBA Semifinals, the Sky had won the last six games in the rivalry, including all four match-ups during the 2022 regular season.
- No Luck From The Floor
In this very defense-heavy contest, neither team was going to feel particularly good about how their offense played, but the Sky’s performance was certainly one they’d like to have back.
Their 63 points was their lowest offensive output of the season and their 35.3 percent shooting from the field is their lowest in a playoff game since their run to the WNBA Finals in 2014.
They were also 8-for-30 from behind the three-point line on the evening in the defeat.
- A Light Night From The Bench
For a lot of the season, the Sky have relied on a veteran starting lineup to aid their success, but a good combination of bench help aided the team’s 26-10 regular season.
But Sunday night, the team didn’t get much from the three players who did come off the bench as the group had just nine points on 3-for-13 shooting from the field with seven rebounds.
They weren’t used much, either, as Rebekah Gardner played 16 minutes (4 points, 2 rebounds), Azura Stevens had 14 minutes (2 points, 4 rebounds), with Julie Allemand played 10 (3 points, 1 rebound).
Dana Evans and Ruthy Hebard were available but didn’t play.
- A Candace Classic
As she had many times this season, Candace Parker did what she could to keep her team in the game with a classic well-rounded performance against the Sun.
She came up with another double-double as she led the Sky with 19 points while also collecting 18 rebounds, registering six blocks, five assists, and four steals.
Now at 26 double-doubles in her playoff career, Parker is one away from tying former Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings for first in WNBA Playoffs history.