WNBA Playoffs: Sun make history with run to close out Sky originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
With four minutes to play in Thursday night's semifinal-deciding Game 5, the Sky looked poised to take another step toward repeating as WNBA champions. Leading 63-54 at that juncture, and with a raucous home crowd backing them, Chicago had momentum on their side.
But the Connecticut Sun had other plans.
In the final 3:46 of the contest, the Sun outscored the Sky 18-0, silencing a once-abuzz Wintrust Arena and stunning the defending champions.
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"It sucks," Sky forward Candace Parker told reporters after the game.
It was also historic.
According to ESPN, the 18-0 run the Sun used to close out Chicago is the longest run to close a game in WNBA playoff history. So if the closing ticks of the contest felt surreal, there is a reason.
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"We just couldn't get stops down the stretch and we couldn't put the ball in the hoop," Parker continued.
Added starting point guard Courtney Vandersloot: "It was us. We didn't make the plays that we've been making all season in that fourth quarter. This is a time that we really flourished all season long — just not tonight, when it mattered."
In all, the Sun outscored the Sky 24-5 in the fourth quarter, shooting 8-for-15 (53.3 percent) to Chicago's 2-for-15 (13.3 percent).
That the run came mere minutes after a third quarter in which the Sky forced eight turnovers and outscored the visitors 18-8 made it all the more jarring.
And so the Sky finish their title defense with a 26-10 regular-season record, but one win short of a second straight Finals berth. Instead, the Sun will face off against the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces.
The Los Angeles Sparks (2001, 2002) remain the last WNBA team to repeat as champions.