Kahleah Copper poured in 21 points and tied a career-high with 10 rebounds as the visiting Chicago Sky rolled to a 91-77 win over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday afternoon in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals.
Game 2 of the best-of-five series is set for Wednesday, also in Phoenix.
The Sky parlayed a dominating final four minutes of the second quarter into an 11-point lead at halftime. They extended the advantage to 13 points after three periods and to 23 points midway through the final quarter.
Phoenix fashioned an 11-0 run late in the game but it was too little, too late.
Allie Quigley added 18 points for the Sky, with Stefanie Dolson scoring 14 points off the bench, Candace Parker hitting for 16, Courtney Vandersloot contributing 12 points and 11 assists, and Azura Stevens adding 10 points for Chicago.
Brittney Griner led Phoenix with 20 points, while Diana Taurasi scored 17 and Skylar Diggins-Smith added 15 for the Mercury.
The Mercury led 25-20 after the first quarter behind 50 percent shooting from the floor and a 4-for-6 showing from beyond the arc.
Phoenix led 29-20 after a running layup by Shey Peddy a minute into the quarter, but then scored just six more points until halftime, missing 12 of its final 14 shots in the period and committing 11 turnovers in the first half, its most in a half for the season.
All the momentum switched to the Sky midway through the second period, as they reeled off a 17-0 run to leapfrog to a 46-33 lead before settling for a 46-35 advantage at the break.
Parker led all scorers with 11 points in the first half, while Vandersloot added 10 for the Sky. Griner, Diggins-Smith and Taurasi had eight points each to pace Phoenix in the half.
After an early Chicago run in the third quarter, the Mercury cut their deficit to 58-48 on a 3-pointer by Diggins-Smith at the 5:33 mark. But the Sky answered with authority, pushing its advantage to 17 points on multiple occasions, including on a Quigley basket from long-distance before heading to the final period up 74-61.
Phoenix beat the Sky to win its most recent WNBA title in 2014, which was the last time either team has reached the league finals. The Mercury have been WNBA champions three times while Chicago is chasing its first league crown.
--Field Level Media