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WNBA Finals: Chicago Sky take 2-1 series lead over Phoenix Mercury with dominating performance

The Chicago Sky made WNBA history in Game 3 of the 2021 Finals, defeating the Phoenix Mercury by a playoff-record 36 points. Chicago is now just one win away from its first-ever championship.

2021 WNBA Finals - Phoenix Mercury v Chicago Sky
The Chicago Sky won Game 3 of the 2021 WNBA Finals comfortably, taking a 2-1 series lead.
Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images

The Chicago Sky defeated the Phoenix Mercury 86-50 in Game 3 of the 2021 WNBA Finals, pushing the best-of-five series to 2-1 in Chicago’s favor. It was the largest margin of victory in WNBA postseason history, according to Across The Timeline.

After dropping Game 2 in overtime, the Sky returned to Chicago with renewed energy — something the Mercury were seemingly unable to match from the game’s opening tip. Fueled by the same aggressive defense displayed throughout much of the 2021 WNBA playoffs, Chicago jumped out to a 20-11 first-quarter lead, denying Mercury center Brittney Griner the basketball and forcing Phoenix into contested 3-point shots.

Though Griner adapted and got a few of her usual low-post shot attempts to fall, her 16 points were nowhere near matched by any other Phoenix player. The Sky lead ballooned to 46-24 at halftime and 62-38 after three quarters, with the Mercury struggling mightily from the field. Guards Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith combined to shoot just 3-of-19 (15.8 percent) while Chicago’s disruptive defense limited the quality of looks for Phoenix’s complementary players, forcing 19 turnovers in the process.

Chicago, on the other hand, got the offense it wanted with relative ease. Led by wing Kahleah Copper’s 22 points, the Sky controlled both the paint (36 points to 14) and the pace of the game, assisting on 22 of their 30 made baskets. Point guard Courtney Vandersloot, who was named to the 2021 All-WNBA Second Team earlier in the day, contributed 10 of those assists, bringing her 2021 Finals assist total to 35 through three games.

Highlights: Copper torches Mercury for 22 points

So lopsided was Chicago’s victory that Sky head coach James Wade was able to empty his bench before the fourth quarter even began. Though the game was essentially over by then, Chicago’s reserves gave the sold-out Wintrust Arena crowd plenty of reason to continue cheering, with guard Dana Evans hitting three consecutive 3-pointers to cap perhaps the Sky’s biggest postseason victory to date.

2021 WNBA Finals - Phoenix Mercury v Chicago Sky
Dana Evans (center) and the rest of the Sky bench got extended playing time in Game 3 due to its lopsided nature.
Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sky are now just one win away from their first-ever WNBA championship. They’ll get the opportunity to close out the series at home when they take on the Mercury on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET (ESPN).