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Quigley, Parker lead Sky over Mercury for first WNBA title

Quigley, Parker lead Sky over Mercury for first WNBA title
Chicago Sky shooting guard Allie Quigley made 9 of 14 shots and scored 26 points in a win over the Phoenix Mercury in Game 4 of the 2021 WNBA Finals on Sunday in Chicago. Photo by Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons

Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Allie Quigley scored a team-high 26 points and Candace Parker totaled 16 points and 13 rebounds to beat the Phoenix Mercury in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals, clinching the Chicago Sky's first title.

Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot totaled 10 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds in the 80-74 victory Sunday at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. Parker, who grew up in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Ill., chipped in five assists and four steals in the series finale.

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"I had flashbacks from high school when I first realized we won the state championship, and it was kind of like similar," Parker told reporters, when asked about the final seconds of the victory.

"It was amazing to just hug my dad and my mom and my family. It was just an amazing feeling to be from here and see so many people in the stands that have been supporting you since you started."

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The Sky trailed 72-65 with 4:42 left in regulation, but rallied with a late 11-0 run to snatch momentum. Mercury star forward Diana Taurasi made just 4 of 16 shots from the field and totaled 16 points in the loss. Center Brittney Griner scored a game-high 28 points for the Mercury.

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The Mercury led 7-4 through the first three minutes, but the Sky answered with a 10-2 run to take a five-point lead midway through the first quarter. The Mercury later went on a 9-0 run to take a 28-25 edge into the second. The Mercury outscored the Sky 16-12 over the next 10 minutes and led 44-37 at halftime.

The Mercury outscored the Sky 19-17 in the third to increase its advantage to nine points at the start of the fourth. Griner hit a 3-pointer to push the lead to 11 about 30 seconds into the final quarter. Quigley answered with consecutive made 3-pointers to cut the deficit to five points.

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Griner and Quigley continued to exchange baskets midway through the quarter before the Sky's late rally. Parker tied the score with a 26-foot 3-pointer with 1:57 remaining. Stefanie Dolson made layups on the next two possessions to give the Sky a 76-72 lead with 45.8 seconds left.

Taurasi made two free throws to cut the deficit to 76-74 about three seconds later, but Vandersloot scored the final four points to secure the victory.

"We knew if we got the right people, that we could be in this moment, and it would be special here," Vandersloot said. "We didn't want to go seeking that.

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"We didn't want to go seeking this feeling. We wanted to do it here, and we just knew that we had what it takes."

Sky small forward Kahleah Copper, who scored 10 points, earned WNBA Finals MVP. She averaged 17 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in the series. Copper averaged 18.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and two assists per game in the WNBA playoffs.

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