Sky beat Mercury 105-76 in first-round, advance in playoffs for first time since 2016
After the Sky regained control of the ball, Kahleah Copper happily dribbled the ball until time expired. When the buzzer rang, she threw the ball up at the buzzer. “All I Do is Win” immediately blared on the speakers at Wintrust Arena as the team met in the middle of the court.
In their first postseason game since 2016, the Sky beat the Mercury 105-76 and advance to the second-round of the playoffs.
Since the start, the Sky controlled the tempo. They scored 10 of their 20 first-quarter points on fast breaks thanks to forward Diamond DeShields’ speed and athleticism.
In the second quarter, the Mercury suffered a big loss when All-Star center Brittney Griner went down with a knee injury. Star Diana Taurasi, who was out with a hamstring injury, and another Mercury staff member helped Griner to the locker room before the half concluded.
Griner, who averaged 25 points in three games against the Sky in the regular season, sported a brace on her left knee and she tried to start the second half. However, she was quickly substituted out. She finished with six points in just under 14 minutes.
The Mercury managed to stay competitive with the Sky throughout the second quarter. But the Sky took over the second half.
Out of the locker rooms, Sky went on a quick 8-0 run, which forced Sandy Brondello to call a timeout.
DeShields scored 10 of her 25 points in the third quarter.
And in the fourth quarter, the Sky had the game in the bag.
Four of the five starters finished in double-digits scoring. Vandersloot had nine points and 11 assists. And Astou Ndour, who’s been the breakout star of the Sky since Jantel Lavender suffered a season-ending foot injury in August, scored 16 points and had nine rebounds. Stefanie Dolson also had 16 points
Meanwhile, DeWanna Bonner led the Mercury in scoring, recording 21 points.
The Sky will head to Las Vegas to play the fourth-seeded Aces on Sunday in a single-elimination game at Thomas & Mack Center. The Sky beat the Aces in only one of their three meetings this season.
How far will the Sky go in the playoffs?
“The Sky’s the limit,” DeShields said.