By: Isabella Urbani, Sports Editor
For most professional sports teams, the month of October signifies the start of a new season. But for the women of the WNBA, it marks the final stretch of a long and hard-fought journey to raise the championship. Unlike its parallel organization, the NBA, the WNBA season normally consists of 36 games played from mid–May to early September. The top eight teams with the best winning percentage, “regardless of their conference,” advance to the post–season.
The two best teams receive a bye, exempting them from the first two rounds and sending them directly to the third round. Similarly, teams three and four are exempt from round one, leaving teams five through eight to duke it out in a single-elimination match. The same “winner takes all” showdown remains for round two. Finally, in the third round, the final four teams will battle it out in a best of five series to determine the final two.
Nothing would be sweeter for the Chicago Sky than to rewrite history and beat the Mercury who swept them 3–0 in the 2014 championship. But toppling the three-time WNBA champions will be no easy task for the Sky, especially after the Mercury single-handedly eliminated last year’s reigning champions, the Seattle Storm.
However, the Chicago Sky did not have the 2008 first overall draft pick and WNBA champion Candice Parker during this playoff run. Parker, who signed with the Sky after spending 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks, has had 10 consecutive postseason appearances. She scored 16 of the Sky’s 91 points, in a commanding 91–77 victory in game 1 of the 2021 WNBA Finals.
Not to be outdone, Diana Taurasi is another former first overall draft pick and three-time WNBA champion. When it comes to this year’s WNBA Finals, she has no shortage of experience. Taurasi has played her whole 17-year career for the Mercury and scored 17 of her team’s 77 points.
I have this series coming down to the wire in a deciding game five victory for the Sky in overtime. It would be a mistake to underestimate the Phoenix Mercury, but if they want to even out this series, the offence will need to be spread throughout the lineup, rather than relying on Taurasi and Griner.
Game 2: The Phoenix Mercury (98–85) (series tied 1–1)
Whoever wins game two holds all the stakes. Down 1–0 in the series at home, the Mercury will have to win this game to get back in the race. They do not have the same star power as their 2014 championship team to beat the Sky in three straight games with the series heading back to Chicago.
Game 3: The Chicago Sky (105–97) OT (Sky lead series 2–1)
With the series tied and in Chicago, the Sky will pull out all the stops to take a 2–1 game advantage. Game three will likely go to overtime and either Parker or Taurasi will win it for their team. Despite Taurasi having a history of nailing clutch shots in the finals, it looks like this game will go to the Sky.
Game 4: The Phoneix Mercury (87–73) (series tied)
Game four will be a setback loss for the Sky. Despite their rallying efforts in game three, with their backs against the wall, the Mercury will be relentless on the forecheck and may force the Sky to panic and create sloppy turnovers.
Game 5: The Chicago Sky (80–75) OT (Sky win series 3–2)
In the final game of the series, both teams will leave it all out on the court. In a close defensive matchup, the game will be forced to overtime, and the Sky will capture their first title.