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