Sky News

Sky set WNBA record, force Game 3

10 months agoKarli Bell

“She’s fine.”

That fall at practice on Friday meant nothing to the reigning WNBA Finals MVP in Kahleah Copper as she led all scoring with 20 points in the Sky’s record-breaking 100-62 win over the New York Liberty, forcing a deciding Game 3.

“I just want my team to be able to know that if they call on me for whatever, I’m going to respond,” Copper said. “It was just important for me to do what my team needed.”

The 38-point differential was the largest margin of victory in WNBA playoffs history.

Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot said, “It was more for us than anyone else to build that confidence within ourselves and know that when we play our game, we believe that we can beat anybody. We can beat them similar to today. We didn’t come in here thinking, ‘We want to win by 40.’ We wanted to win the game, and we wanted to do it our way.”

Before tipoff, the energy on the Sky’s half of the court was electric, intense and focused. Warm ups brewed a new type of life in Chicago, with Copper dancing around and gassing up her teammates.

“I definitely approached this game with a chip on my shoulder,” Copper said. “We lost at home in front of our crowd who shows up consistently and gives us everything. It was important for us to respond.”

Copper opened the game with a 3-pointer, and that was that. Chicago never let go of the lead from that point on, dropping a 30 piece in the opening quarter. New York couldn’t recover, even with the small runs they made in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

“Chicago responded in a way that champion teams respond,” Liberty head coach Sandy Brondello said. “It’s nice to know we have one more game, and hopefully the result will be positive.”

The game was effortless and seamless for Chicago, especially in the paint with 60 of their 100 points coming from inside. In their defensive effort, the Sky limited the second and third chance shots for New York drastically compared to Game 1 on Wednesday, cutting the offensive rebounds in half.

“That’s just the mentality we have to have moving forward is the less chances they get on goal, the better off we are,” Vandersloot said laughing. “That hurt us last game is they got a couple 3s off offensive rebounds that messed up our flow. We were just forcing them to take uncomfortable shots.” 

Until the final seconds of the fourth quarter, not a single Liberty player scored in double-digits. Meanwhile, five Sky players scored in double-figures, and every Sky player scored in the contest.

Candace Parker put up yet another double-double with 12 points and 12 boards. Vandersloot finished with 16 points and just a rebound shy of a double-double. Azurá Stevens finished with 14 points followed by Rebekah Gardner with 11 points.

“I thought the attention to detail was so great,” Sky head coach/general manager James Wade said. “The intensity was so great. I thought we executed at a level where we didn’t make many mistakes. When we did, we had people to back us up. That’s what we have to be. There was a lot of trust on the floor.”

The deciding game 3 is set for Tuesday. Aug. 23 in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center. Game time is set for 8 p.m. on ESPN.

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