Chicago—Game 3 of the WNBA Finals moved to Chicago Friday night. With the series tied following Phoenix’s overtime win in Game 2, Chicago Sky was able to regain momentum with their homecourt advantage to take Game 3 by the largest margin in Finals history: 86–50.
Chicago put heavy defensive pressure on their opponent. They took away the dominant offense of Mercury center Britney Griner from Game 2. Griner was held to 16 points, 2 rebounds, and one assist, compared to the 29 points and nine rebounds in the Game 2 overtime victory.
Chicago also pressured Mercury’s Diana Taurasi into missing 1 of 10, the majority of her shots. Taurasi and Griner had recently led the United States Gold-medal win in the Olympics. The 39-year-old Taurasi is in her 15th year in the league and is heralded as the greatest of all time (GOAT) in women’s basketball. However, she was only able to produce five points, two rebounds, and two assists, compared to 20 points in Game 2.
“We got our butts kicked tonight,” Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said. “It’s disappointing. They were aggressive. We still got some open looks and missed them. We lost momentum and they grew a lot of confidence. It rattled us a little bit. We’ve got to be better.”
Chicago was led by Kahleah Copper, who scored 20 of her 22 points in the first half. Phoenix had no one who could defend her. Teammate Candice Parker said of Copper, “Her energy is unmatched, her positivity is unmatched,” adding, “You root for her because she’s a good person. She gives us a lift when we need it on the biggest stage showing the world what we already knew in practice every day.”
Veteran Parker contributed not only with her leadership; she scored 13 points on six of twelve shooting, four rebounds, and three assists. Other top Sky scorers include Diamond Deshields with 11 points off the bench; Allie Quigley and Dana Evans both scored nine each.
“I was telling my team, I’m 0–2 in Game 4 closeout at home,” said Candace Parker. “I don’t want that to continue. We know they are a fantastic team and they’ll come out and be ready. Come back stronger.”
The Sky players had courted the future Hall of Famer, Parker, to return to her hometown when she became a free agent at the end of last year. They were looking for an experienced champion to lead them back to the finals. The Sky had failed to win the championship in 2014 when they were defeated by the Mercury. They hope to win the championship by closing out the series in Game 4 on Sunday, 3 p.m. ET.