Chicago Sky look to rebound in Game 2
Chicago might have swept all four games from the Connecticut Sun during the regular season, but none of that mattered when the Eastern Conference rivals met Sunday in the first of of the best-of-five WNBA semifinal series. The final was 68-63.
Chicago did lead by four points, it was a tie game at halftime, but the defending-champion Sky managed just 29 points in the second half to falter Sunday. Chicago lost the first game at home against the New York Liberty inthe opening round, but the Sun are a much better team than New York.
Game 2 Wednesday is not an elimination game, but it might as well be in the case of the Sky. If Chicago were to lose here, they’d then have to win the final three games-including two in Connecticut-to return to the finals.
Connecticut, ousted in the semifinals in each of the last two seasons, is out to continue its bid for the franchise’s first appearance in the championship round since 2019.
The odds for Chicago to win the WNBA title went from +325 to +385 after a losing opener. Connecticut decreased from +375 to +225, according to the WNBA playoff odds.
Chicago’s series price went from -140 to +155, while the series odds for Connecticut dipped from +120 to -175, meaning the Suns are now favored.
Back to the 60’s
Both teams scoring in the 60s was just fine for the visiting Connecticut Sun. Chicago has won the last nine games against Connecticut when scoring at least 70. When the Sky finish under 70, The last three times Connecticut defeated Chicago, Chicago was held to identical totals of 63 points.
Chicago, limited to 35.3% shooting from the field in the opener, quite the feat given Connecticut was whistled for just seven fouls in the game. That’s a formula which might be hard to sustain, especially with the Sun only shooting 37.3% themselves in the opener. Trying to keep the game from turning into a track meet is crucial after Chicago scored more than 90 points in each of the last three regular-season games.
Connecticut did the bulk of its scoring through its frontcourt. DeWanna Bonner led the way with 15 points, despite missing 12-of-16 shots. Alyssa Thomas had her normal stat-stuffing performance, as in a doen points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Jonquel Jones had 12 points and nine rebounds, while Brionna Jones came off the bench to add 12 points. Thomas became the franchise’s all-time leader with 385 points in the postseason.
The bucket that put Alyssa Thomas in 1st place in postseason scoring in franchise history.
— Connecticut Sun (@ConnecticutSun) August 29, 2022
Connecticut is 7-1 against the WNBA betting lines over its last eight.
Parker, Copper need some help
Candace Parker of the Chicago Sky looked every bit the part of a former WNBA champion and WNBA MVP in the series opener, having ended with 19 points, 18 boards and five assists. Kahleah Copper, the 2021 WNBA Playoff MVP, added 13 points. That duo shot a combined 12-for-26 from the field. That wasn’t sufficient.
The veteran backcourt of Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot were a combined 5-of-18 from the field (1-of-9 from 3-point range) in the loss Sunday.
Both Connecticut and Chicago relied on eight-player rotations, the difference Sunday being Connecticut’s bench had 18 points in 56 minutes, compared to nine points (3-of-13 shooting) in 40 minutes for Chicago’s subs.
Good news is that this isn’t the first rodeo for this group. Four of the five Chicago starters as well as key reserve Azura Stevens were part of last season’s champs, while Emma Meesseman, the other starter, helped Washington win its only WNBA title. This isn’t a group that is going to get flustered after a tough opener.
Something to consider for those who bet online, Chicago has covered against the spread in just one of its last five home games, and is just 5-9-1 against the spread in its last 15.
Sun vs Sky Game Information
- Game: Sun 25-11 vs Sky 26-10
- Location: Wintrust Arena, Chicago, IL
- Day/Time: Wednesday Aug. 31, 8:00 p.m. ET
- Sun vs Sky Live Stream: WNBA.com
Sun vs Sky Betting Lines
Sun vs Sky Prediction
Chicago had won the last six against Connecticut before a losing opener. Do not expect one of the best offensive teams in the WNBA to finish with 63 points in Wednesday’s game.
Chicago has scored more than 85 points in four of the last five home games against the Sun. Chicago had won six straight at home against Connecticut.
Candace Parker averaged 15.3 points (54.8% shooting) against Connecticut in the regular season, adding 7.8 rebounds, five assists, two steals and 1.8 blocked shots. That was before her stellar effort in the loss Sunday.
Jonquel Jones led Connecticut in scoring (16.3 ppg) and rebounding (9.8 rpg) in the four games against Chicago during the regular season.
The total went from 165½ for Game 1 to 163½ in the second game. It may be another defensive struggle here, so that number that might be a little high. The line has moved from Chicago -3½ to -4½ in the last day.
Chicago didn’t claim last season’s title without knowing how to win tough games. Wednesday’s game promises to be just that.