The defending champion Chicago Sky were on their heels after losing to the No. 7 seeded New York Liberty in Game 1 of the WNBA playoffs last week, but they responded in a resounding way on Saturday with a 100-62 victory.
The 38 point margin of victory is the largest in WNBA history, and will force a deciding Game 3 on Tuesday in Brooklyn.
Former Gonzaga point guard Courtney Vandersloot struggled in Game 1 but returned to form on Saturday, dropping 16 points with nine rebounds and four assists. Kahleah Cooper led the Sky with 20 points, while Candace Parker added 12 points and 12 rebounds.
“It was a wake-up call for us,” Vandersloot said after the game. “We shouldn’t have had to have it, but we did, and it woke us up. We came into this game with a different mentality. We knew that what got us through games in the regular season wasn’t going to do the same in the playoffs. We were able to take it up another notch and I think you saw a different team tonight.”
The WNBA’s new playoff format is set up somewhat controversially, as the deciding Game 3 will take place in Brooklyn instead of Chicago, despite the Sky being the higher seed. But the path to a repeat title is never easy, and the Sky are prepared to face any hurdle they need to to return to the championship.
“If we play like that, it doesn’t matter where we play,” Sky coach James Wade said after the victory. “We can play on the moon, but we have to be who we’re going to be. That’ll dictate everything.”
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