Victory in the Windy City: Chicago Sky bring home their 1st WNBA Title

Victory in the Windy City: Chicago Sky bring home their 1st WNBA Title

Alexis Davis, theSCORE Lead Reporter

Bringing home the championship trophy to the Windy City was more than a victory for the Chicago Sky. The group of dynamic women had several things to prove to themselves and doubters.

On Sunday, the Sky came back after not being able to get over the 11-point gap and turned things around when it mattered most. The team’s chemistry and execution throughout the season lead to setting the WNBA record for most wins in the postseason.

Sky coach and general manager James Wade believes it took believing in themselves first to get to being WNBA champions. 

“Faith is a big key for me,” Wade told the Chicago Tribune. “You have to believe it and I can’t explain it. It’s just in me and you give it to them. You sound crazy enough that they believe it, and when I got here in 2018, I remember saying we were going to win a championship.”

Their triumph over the Phoenix Mercury was the franchise’s first title. The Sky’s performed in front of a sold out crowd in Chicago’s Wintrust Arena. 

Not only did the Sky change the tone for the city of Chicago but they also have women’s basketball fans hopeful that the amount of attention received will be consistent for seasons to come.

The four-game series averaged 548,000 viewers, according to CNBC. Game 3 was the most-watched, with an average of 524,000 viewers. 

Chicago native Candance Parker longed to finish the job for her hometown state of Illinois. Parker was raised in the suburban part of Naperville, Illinois. She began gaining traction during her time in college with the Tennessee Volunteers. While being a Vol, she won two NCAA titles and topped this accomplishment by being the No. 1 draft pick in the 2008 WNBA draft.

When it seemed like 2008 couldn’t get any better for Parker, she went on to win Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year. After eight years of playing professionally, Parker finally won a title with the Los Angeles Spark. 

She took a leap of faith as a free agent and came home to contend for her second title. Earlier this year, Parker graced the cover of NBA 2k as the first female basketball player to hold such honor.

During Game Four, Parker had 16 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four steals. Allie Quigley, another Illinois native lead the team in points by putting 26 on the board. Stefanie Dolson’s team called on her to make a play and she answered. Dolson knocked down two baskets within minutes of each other pushing the Sky ahead in the fourth quarter.

Mercury center Brittney Griner gave everything she had in game four. She went down fighting with 28 points but it was not enough to force a game five.

Kahleah Copper was named MVP after her duel against the Mercury. Copper has been known to let location dictate the direction of her career. In high school, she blew Prep Charter fans away with her athleticism and scoring capabilities.

She stayed close to her Philadelphia roots by attending Rutgers University and later playing for the Washington Mystics. Cooper turned into the mature player she is today after playing overseas in Belgium and stepping out of her comfort zone to join the Sky.

“I just came in and just tried to find my way,” Cooper said to ESPN. “Just tried to find a road. I didn’t play much, so let’s do some handshakes, let’s get everybody ready for the game, let’s just try to figure it out, just play your role, and that’s what I did. I’m just grateful for my process. I wouldn’t change anything.”

In game four of the series, Cooper was able to contribute 10 points to the Sky’s title. During the postseason Cooper remained consistent scoring an average of 18 points per game and 7 rebounds.

The Sky bringing home the title to their city shed a positive light on the city of Chicago. Their win further showed unity between the NBA and the WNBA. 

Chris Paul purchased 500 tickets to Game 3 of the Mercury and Las Vegas Aces semifinal game. For Paul, the idea came about while watching the Mercury practice.

Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Chance the Rapper and various Chicago Bulls players vibrantly cheered both teams on until the final score was called. Instead of simply suggesting attendance, NBA stars showed their support through their presence.