Candace Parker, Sky Top Arike Ogunbowale, Wings to Advance in 2021 WNBA Playoffs

Adam WellsSeptember 24, 2021

Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot (22) shoots against the Dallas Wings during the first half in the first round of the WNBA basketball playoffs, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski

Hosting their first playoff game in two years, the Chicago Sky gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about thanks to an 81-64 win over the Dallas Wings to advance to the second round. 

The Sky had an inconsistent regular season, resulting in a 16-16 overall record. They lost four of their final six games coming into the playoffs, but one of those wins was a 92-84 victory over the No. 2 seed Las Vegas Aces to clinch a postseason berth. 

Dallas (14-18) was one of two teams to clinch a playoff berth with a losing record this season (New York Liberty, 12-20). The Wings hadn't made the postseason since 2018 and are still seeking their first playoff win since 2009 when the franchise was known as the Detroit Shock. 

Notable Game Stats

  • Kahleah Copper (CHI): 23 points (10-of-14 FG), 2 rebounds, 2 assists
  • Allie Quigley (CHI): 15 points (6-of-14 FG), 2 rebounds, 3 assists
  • Candace Parker (CHI): 11 points (5-of-15 FG), 15 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals
  • Arike Ogunbowale (DAL): 22 points (8-of-16 FG)
  • Satou Sabally (DAL): 12 points (5-of-10 FG), 4 rebounds, 2 steals

Candace Parker struggled to find her shooting rhythm, going just 5-of-15 from the floor to finish with 11 points. The two-time WNBA MVP still made an impact with 15 rebounds, seven assists and three steals. 

Parker, Allie Quigley and Stefanie Dolson combined to finish +56 in the win. 

Chicago Sky @chicagosky

Quigley Parker<br> 🤝<br> Makin' it happen <a href="https://t.co/yBirWkTubl">https://t.co/yBirWkTubl</a> <a href="https://t.co/l6AWZ9BnMP">pic.twitter.com/l6AWZ9BnMP</a>

The Sky looked like they would cruise to victory after leading by as many as 21 points in the second quarter and carrying a 44-29 advantage into halftime. 

Dallas stormed back in the third quarter, going on an 18-7 run to cut the deficit down to four points. Two straight baskets by Stefanie Dolson and Allie Quigley gave Chicago a 55-47 lead. 


From 21 points down 🥶<br><br>We got us a ball game 🙌<br><br>📺 ESPN2 <a href="https://t.co/JlBAAc3yhR">pic.twitter.com/JlBAAc3yhR</a>

Kahleah Copper's red-hot start was instrumental in getting the Sky out to an early advantage. She went 6-of-7 from the field and scored 12 of her team's 25 points in the first 10 minutes. 


KAHHH 😎 <br><br>After 1Q of play, <a href="https://twitter.com/kahleahcopper?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@kahleahcopper</a> has racked up 12 PTS and is 6-for-7 from the field<br><br>📺 ESPN2 <a href="https://t.co/cOwd8jrDCF">pic.twitter.com/cOwd8jrDCF</a>

Jake Wolf of NBC Sports Edge cited Copper as a potential key for the Sky coming into the game based on how they fared when she shot well from the field:

Jake Wolf @JakeWolf13

I think Kahleah Copper’s efficiency could be the deciding factor for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/skytown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#skytown</a> tonight against the Wings. Chicago went 10-5 when Copper shot at least 50% from the field and 6-11 when she made under half of her shot attempts <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WNBATwitter?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WNBATwitter</a>

Copper did lead all Sky players in scoring, but she slowed down after that hot start. The All-Star guard had 11 points over the final three quarters.

Satou Sabally anchored the third-quarter comeback for the Wings. She scored eight of her 12 points after head coach Vickie Johnson had her start the second half. 

Dallas Wings @DallasWings

Things you love to see: a reverse from Satou<br><br>(<a href="https://twitter.com/satou_sabally?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@satou_sabally</a>) <a href="https://t.co/sISABq92nE">pic.twitter.com/sISABq92nE</a>

Arike Ogunbowale did most of the heavy lifting on offense for Dallas' starting five. The Notre Dame alum finished with 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting (5-of-10 from three-point range). She was the only member of the starting group to reach double digits in scoring.

Kayla Thornton and Bella Alaire were held scoreless, with Thornton missing each of her six shot attempts. Johnson elected to limit their minutes as the game went on, replacing them with Sabally and Isabelle Harrison. 

When Sabally and Harrison were on the floor in the second half, the Wings made their run to get within shouting distance. Unfortunately, it turned out to be too late. 

The Sky shot 45.2 percent overall from the floor and had a 47-35 rebounding advantage in the win. They will await the result of Thursday's second game between the New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury to learn where they will be playing in the second round of the playoffs this weekend. 

What's Next?

The Sky will play either the No. 3 Minnesota Lynx (22-10) or No. 4 Seattle Storm (21-11) on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET.