Candace Parker returned to her hometown of Chicago with a mission: deliver the city a WNBA championship. She is now one step closer, leading the team to a series-clinching win over league MVP Jonquel Jones and the Connecticut Sun. The Sky now awaits the winner of the Las Vegas Aces and Phoenix Mercury series.
“This is a special group,” Parker said to ESPN. “This year was hard. We’re sitting here, and this is great, but it was hard this year.
“We have a bunch of people who get back up. You get knocked down, and you get back up. After playing against them for so many years, I wanted to be a part of it.”
Parker scored 17 points and added 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals to the win.
“We were missing one piece. And it was Candace Parker,” Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot said. “We knew what she brought to us. She was going to take us to this point that we are right here. That’s what it means to us for her to come here and come home.”
Vandersloot recruited Parker home in the offseason by sending local food to her during free agency. Vandersloot reached the WNBA Finals once before, leading the Sky there in 2014. She now looks to finish the job.
“When we finally got that core group and were building around players that wanted to be here, we had something very special. And I knew it because of the previous seasons I’ve been here. It was an easy sell to Candace.”
The Mercury and Aces will face off in a winner take all Game 5 scheduled for Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. Game #1 of the 2021 WNBA Finals is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, with tip-off set for 2:00 p.m. CT (3:00 p.m. ET) at either Las Vegas or Phoenix.