Chicago Sky’s Kahleah Copper (WNBA photo)

After the Chicago Sky demolished the Phoenix Mercury 86–50 in game three of the 2021 WNBA Finals and took a 2–1 lead in the best of five series, Candace Parker said she was zero-for-two in closing out a championship in game four and was hoping to break that unfortunate record. The two years that her long-time team, the Los Angeles Sparks, made it to the WNBA Finals, 2016 and ’17, the series went to five games, with the Sparks winning in 2016 and losing in 2017.

While Parker has made Los Angeles her home, Chicago is her hometown, and this year she decided to sign with her hometown team and do what LeBron James did for Cleveland—bring home a championship. On Sunday afternoon, it was mission accomplished. With friends, family and her high school coach in the building, Parker had 16 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four steals as the Sky defeated the Mercury 80–74 to win Chicago’s first WNBA title.

Except for game three, this was a close series and the Mercury played on fire for much of game four. The Sky held tight and kept eroding Phoenix’s lead. Although she played less than 19 minutes, Stefanie Dolson’s two buckets late in the fourth quarter gave Chicago the lead that it held to the final buzzer.

Finals MVP went to forward Kahleah Copper, who was a major force throughout the Finals. The top Sky scorer in game four was Allie Quigley, who with her wife, Courtney Vandersloot, are the only players remaining with the Sky since its 2014 Finals appearance. Both were extraordinary in this title run.

The last of the WNBA’s post-season awards were announced as the Finals drew to a close. Season MVP Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun leads the 2021 All-WNBA First Team. She is joined by Skylar Diggins-Smith and Brittney Griner of the Mercury, both of whom have had the best season of their WNBA careers, and Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd of the Seattle Storm.

All-WNBA Second Team is composed of A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces, Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx, Arike Ogunbowale of the Dallas Wings, Queens native Tina Charles of the Washington Mystics and Vandersloot of the Sky. The final honor is the Seasonlong WNBA Community Assist Award, which went to Sparks center and former New York Liberty player Amanda Zahui B. in recognition of her dedication to health and wellness, social justice and women’s and girls’ empowerment.

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