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Candace Parker Keys 'Championship Response' in Sky's Rout of Sabrina Ionescu, Liberty

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 20, 2022

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

After surprisingly dropping Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the seventh-seeded New York Liberty, the second-seeded and reigning WNBA champion Chicago Sky answered emphatically on Saturday.

Led by all-time great Candace Parker and her 12 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, the Sky decimated the Liberty in Game 2 by a 100-62 score to even the series and force a decisive Game 3 in New York City on Tuesday.

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

.<a href="https://twitter.com/Candace_Parker?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Candace_Parker</a> recorded her 24th career double-double in the playoffs 👏 <br><br>Extending her mark for the second most in WNBA history! <a href="https://t.co/faEcfrGq8w">pic.twitter.com/faEcfrGq8w</a>

Parker, who is a two-time WNBA champion and WNBA MVP, is best known for her scoring and rebounding acumen, but she excelled in all areas Saturday, including her passing:

WNBA @WNBA

WHAT A PASS CP 🤩<a href="https://twitter.com/Candace_Parker?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Candace_Parker</a> has tied Tamika Catchings for 6th on the All-Time Playoffs Assists List with 233 👏 <a href="https://t.co/FjNCHoQ8hU">pic.twitter.com/FjNCHoQ8hU</a>

All-Star guard Sabrina Ionescu was dominant in the Liberty's 98-91 in Game 1 with 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists, but she struggled Saturday to the tune of seven points, five rebounds, three assists and three turnovers.

There was overwhelming Twitter response to the Sky's performance, with Larry Hawley of WGN-TV in Chicago referring to it as a "championship response."

Larry Hawley @HawleySports

This is what you call a championship response. The Sky lead by 23 in Game 2 against the Liberty. Kahleah Copper has ten points. Quite a game so far.

Several others commented on the Sky's response as well, marveling at how much better they played in Game 2 compared to Game 1:

Kevin Kaduk @KevinKaduk

The Sky are playing like a team pissed to already be playing an elimination game and the Liberty are playing like a team happy to have stolen one in Chicago.

Annie Costabile @AnnieCostabile

The Liberty had just nine made FGs in the first half. Talk about responses from the Sky, idk that it gets any better than that!

Brittany ♐️✊🏾🏀💜💛 @bionicbritt86

Chicago Sky after their game 1 loss to the Liberty <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WNBATwitter?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WNBATwitter</a> <a href="https://t.co/zqAXLubi2o">pic.twitter.com/zqAXLubi2o</a>

There was also plenty of discussion about the Sky's dominance and their apparent attempt to demoralize the Liberty entering a win-or-go-home Game 3:

Tanner Russ @TannerRuss7

The Chicago Sky are absolutely demolishing the Liberty right now. This is wildly dominant.

Chris Williamson @CWilliamson44

The Sky to the Liberty right now. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WNBATwitter?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WNBATwitter</a> <a href="https://t.co/F9lbHC9Bve">pic.twitter.com/F9lbHC9Bve</a>

Julie Middleton @JulieMi17300708

Liberty had the Sky all the way messed up. The Sky are trying to break them down and their spirits. As they rightfully should. Wade was responsible for that first game.

Oswald Bates 🇳🇬 @Alani_X

Sky is trying to demoralize this Liberty team. Up 40!

As always, there was even some room for jokes, as Claire Watkins of Just Women's Sports quipped that the Sky only lost their first game due to their desire to grow the sport:

Claire Watkins @ScoutRipley

The Sky are just really committed to growing the game and want the Liberty to get a home playoff game

Regardless of their motivations, the Sky showed why they are the defending WNBA champions, and they gave the Liberty a glimpse into why they will be an incredibly difficult out in these playoffs.

While a 38-point loss isn't easy to come back from, the Liberty did manage to beat the Sky in Game 1, and they will have home-court advantage in Game 3.

If they bring the same effort and execution in Game 3 as they did in Game 2, however, they won't have much hope to defeat the Sky and advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2015.

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