Kahleah Copper shines for the Chicago Sky in their Game 1 Finals victory against the Phoenix Mercury

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Kahleah Copper
Source: Twitter.com

Kahleah Copper scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the visiting Chicago Sky to a 91-77 victory against the Phoenix Mercury in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday evening.

Game 2 of the best-of-five series is scheduled for Wednesday night, also in Phoenix.

The Sky built an 11-point advantage at halftime thanks to a dominant last four minutes of the second quarter. They increased their lead to 13 points after three quarters and 23 points midway through the fourth quarter.

Late in the game, Phoenix put together an 11-0 run, but it was too little, too late.

The Sky had six players score in double figures, including Kahleah Copper. Stefanie Dolson scored 14 points off the bench, while Allie Quigley added 18 points. Candace Parker scored 16, Courtney Vandersloot had 12 points and 11 assists, while Azura Stevens chipped in with 10 points of her own.

Vandersloot’s playmaking was enhanced by the fact that she had 11 assists and no turnovers, making her the first player in WNBA Finals history to have at least 10 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, and no turnovers in a game.

Brittney Griner led Phoenix with 20 points, while Diana Taurasi had 17 and Skylar Diggins-Smith had 15.

The Mercury led 25-20 at the end of the first quarter, thanks to 50 percent shooting from the field and a 4-for-6 performance from beyond the arc.

Phoenix led 29-20 following a running layup by Shey Peddy a minute into the quarter, but scored only six more points until halftime, missing 12 of their final 14 shots and committing 11 turnovers, their highest in a half this season.

Midway through the second stanza, the Sky seized control, going on a 17-0 run to vault to a 46-33 lead before settling for a 46-35 lead at the intermission.

Following an early Chicago run in the third quarter, the Mercury trimmed their deficit to 58-48 at the 5:33 mark on a three-pointer by Diggins-Smith. The Sky, on the other hand, responded with authority, increasing its lead to 17 points on multiple occasions, including a long-distance Quigley shot, before heading into the final period up 74-61.

Phoenix defeated the Sky to win the WNBA championship in 2014, the last time either team reached the league finals. The Mercury have won three WNBA championships, while Chicago is looking for their first.

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