CHICAGO (AP) — Candace Parker scored 22 points and the Chicago Sky evened the semifinal series with an 85-77 win over the Connecticut Sun in Game 2 of the WNBA playoffs Wednesday night.
Chicago coach James Wade said pregame that Chicago was “going to make shots” Wednesday after a lackluster 35.3% shooting performance in Game 1. The Sky responded by hitting six of 10 shots to open the game, and finished the night 32 of 63 (50.8%). All five starters scored in double figures for Chicago.
Game 3 is in Connecticut on Sunday.
Jonquel Jones scored a team-high 23 points for the Sun on 10 of 17 shooting, adding seven rebounds and two blocks.
The Sun never led after Jones hit a 3 on the first possession of the game.
Wade praised Parker for her consistency since joining Chicago ahead of last season and said she is particularly motivated by the belief that the Sky are capable of repeating as WNBA champions.
“She wants to do everything in her power to get another championship,” Wade said. “And so that’s where I think you see, I wouldn’t say desperation, but urgency.”
Forward Emma Meesseman found her rhythm with back-to-back baskets in the opening minutes after a 4 of 11 shooting performance in Game 1. The 6-foot-4 forward finished with 14 points on an efficient 6 of 8 shooting clip to go along with seven rebounds, three assists, and a pair of steals.
Meesseman said Wade’s unwavering confidence in his group carries over into the team.
“Sometimes you’re like, maybe too much confidence?” Meeseman said. “But (Wade) tends to be right. So don’t tell him, but it’s true.”
Jones and Odyssey Sims keyed a 6-0 Connecticut run early in the second quarter, but Chicago responded and pushed the lead to 10 on Courtney Vandersloot’s layup. The Sky carried a 47-32 lead into the half after hitting 19 of 31 shots.
Sun point guard Natisha Hiedeman added 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting with most coming in the second half.
“They were getting everything that they wanted,” Hiedeman said. “We didn’t come out with the same energy it felt like.”
DeWanna Bonner went 0 for 6 from the field and finished with two points after leading the Sun with 15 points in Game 1.
“You could feel some of the frustration that we were missing wide open shots against their aggressiveness and rotation,” Connecticut coach Curt Miller said.
Parker capped her scoring contributions with a turnaround jumper near the baseline and a 3 at the 6:17 mark which gave Chicago a 76-56 cushion.
She said limiting the Sun to six second-chance points on seven total offensive rebounds was crucial in the winning effort.
“It’s making those shots hard, and I think also, it’s finishing the play with a rebound,” Parker said. “Today we did that. We were able to do that and we have to continue to do that because (the Sun) are a great team.”
Parker hit three shots while drawing fouls in the first half, including a 3, but missed the and-one free throw on each occasion.
Vandersloot scored 10 points and tallied a game-high eight assists and Allie Quigley went 3 of 6 from long range to finish with 13 points.
NOT SO FREE THROWS
Connecticut shot just 8 of 16 at the free throw line. Chicago hit 15 of 22 (68.2%) of its free throw attempts.
The series shifts to Connecticut on Sunday afternoon for Game 3.
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