The level of physicality on display from Connecticut was a clear sign of just how much the Sun want to finally find a way past the Sky
Photos by John L. Alexander
By Jadah McIntosh
The Chicago Sky’s quest for back-to-back championships continued as their second-round matchup with the Connecticut Sun tipped off in front of a lively crowd at Wintrust Arena Sunday night.
Already very familiar with each other, this was the third consecutive postseason the teams have met. And while the two teams have already played 4 games so far this season, Sunday’s 68-63 victory for the Sun was their first over the Sky all year.
Each team battled seemingly neck and neck all game, with the tough-minded defensive strategy of the Sun making it hard for the Sky to look like themselves offensively. The teams would go into the half tied at 34 and remain close until the Sun went on a 16-6 run from 4:55 in the third quarter to 8:31 in the fourth quarter to snatch control of the game. Even a 14-6 Sky run late in the 4th quarter wasn't enough to get the win as the physicality of the game proved to be just too much for the defending champs.
After the win, Sun’s head coach Curt Miller described his team’s strategy heading into the game. “We needed to make the game messy." said Miller, alluding to the fact that he knows his team needs to find a way to neutralize the Sky’s high-powered offense. The level of physicality on display from Connecticut was a clear sign of just how much the Sun want to finally find a way past the Sky to make it to the Finals.
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The Sky’s Azura Stevens responded to the game 1 loss by saying she’s aware that the Sun may have a chip on their shoulders due to their lack of success versus them and sounded confident about the Sky’s ability to bounce back in game 2. “They lost to us last year, and not just lost, I think they were on some crazy streak and we gut-punched them. Then beat them 4-0 this year (in the regular season). We have to bring more energy the next game, and we will."
On a positive note, Candace Parker was incredible in game 1, becoming the first player in WNBA Playoff history with 15 points, 18 rebounds, 6 blocks, and 5 steals. Parker is now one double-double away from tying Tamika Catchings for most in playoff double-doubles in league history. She also passed Maya Moore for No. 3 on the all-time playoffs points list with 1,080.
The Sky and the Sun will return to Wintrust Arena tonight with a 7pm tipoff for game 2. The game will be aired on ESPN 2 and NBA TV Canada.