It was a walk in the park for the Chicago Sky in their final regular-season matchup as they rolled past the Phoenix Mercury 82-67.
On the final day of the WNBA regular season, teams across the league were fighting for playoff spots and seeding. The Chicago Sky came into Phoenix looking to maintain the top seed. But the Las Vegas Aces defeated the Seattle Storm, pushing the Sky into the second seed.
The game itself was the perfect way for the Sky to end the season -- blowing out a team that they should blow out. Without Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith, two of the league's top stars, the Phoenix Mercury were a shell of a team. Those absences allowed the Sky to jump out to a large lead and maintain it throughout the game.
The entire roster contributed to Sunday’s victory, as every single Sky player recorded a bucket. This excluded Li Yueru, who did not travel with the team as she resolves visa technicalities to prepare for the World Cup.
Azurá Stevens led the way for Chicago with a game-high 17 points on 3-6 shooting from behind the arc. Stevens sparked the Sky's early lead coming off the bench. The visitors went on a 22-7 run from 7:23 in the first quarter to 7:04 in the second quarter.
All smiles per usual, Stevens felt great after the game. “It was a good win for us,” she said. “Good for us heading into the playoffs.”
The past couple of weeks, the Sky have been a bit off when it comes to scoring and efficiency early on, having to fight back late. Sure, they’re a fantastic second-half team, but their depth and star power should allow them to storm out the gate with the lead.
After the regular-season finale, head coach James Wade spoke on this season’s success versus last year's .500 season. “We feel good,” said Wade. “We had a good season. It took 35 games to lose two in a row.”
What’s On Tap Next?
The 2022 WNBA playoffs begin on Wednesday, August 17. The Chicago Sky will host the New York Liberty.
The Sky are 3-1 against New York this season with their only defeat coming in the second of back-to-back games with a delayed flight in between. However, the Liberty have been red hot as of late, winning seven of their last 10 games.
Azurá Stevens seemed pretty excited to face her former Sky teammate Stefanie Dolson. “Stef is a great player,” said Stevens. “It will be fun to match up against her.”
Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CT on ESPN2.