With the series knotted at 1-1, the semifinals in between the No. 1 seed Connecticut Sun (1-1) and No. 6 seed Chicago Sky (3-1) transfers to the the Windy City, with the groups taking the court on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (ESPN).
In the Sky’s Game 1 win, Courtney Vandersloot was the standout, tallying just the 2nd triple-double in WNBA playoff history with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 18 helps. In Game 2, Alyssa Thomas was the hero, as “the Engine” appeared unencumbered by her current return from an Achilles injury and powered the Sun to the success.
Who will step up in Game 3 and take spotlight? Will it be Candace Parker? Jonquel Jones? Or, somebody else?
The case for Candace Parker
After balancing under 27 minutes per video game throughout the routine season, Parker’s minute load has actually increased in the playoffs to more than 33 minutes per video game. In Game 1 of the semifinals, she played practically 40 minutes.
For Chicago to victory, it requires a lot from Parker. Can the 35-year-old provide it?
In specific, can she reverse the clock for another big-time scoring outburst? In Game 1, she displayed her scoring chops, netting 22 points. In Game 2, she fell to 12 overall points.
That Connecticut started to appear like the league’s finest defense, closing down a Chicago offense that had actually hummed throughout Game 1 and at the start of Game 2, recommends the Sky might require Parker to presume a more active, aggressive offending frame of mind, particularly if they are required to develop in the half court.
Can Parker consistently take advantage of her veteran savvy to run as a flexible offense hazard — as pick-and-roll partner with Vandersloot, publishing up on the block, or operating in seclusion on the boundary — to check, and ideally develop fractures in, the Sun defense?
The case for Jonquel Jones
The newly-crowned MVP has actually not kipped down an MVP-caliber playoffs.
In Game 1, J. Jones scored a game-high 26 points, while likewise getting 11 rebounds, whacking a set of shots and snagging a take. Sounds like an MVP.
But, down the stretch of Game 1, she did not leave an imprint on the offending end, scoring just 4 overall points throughout the 4th quarter and 2 overtime durations. Then, in Game 2, she was off her video game, playing less than 25 minutes and scoring just 4 points.
Can she find her groove and turn in an efficiency requisite of her “Bahamian Beast” label?
After the Sun dropped Game 1 of the 2019 WNBA Finals, when J. Jones scored just 12 points, she let loose a legendary effort in Game 2, with a double-double of 32 points and 18 rebounds. She showed that she can react to a negative efficiency with something incredible. Yet, Jones then had a below average Game 3, scoring just 9 points.
This season, Jones became the near-consensus league MVP due to the fact that of her constant quality. As her previous playoff efficiencies show, such consistency had actually been something she had actually done not have in season’s previous. Even though they won Game 2 without the very best variation of her, the No. 1 seed Sun require J. Jones to discover a method to be regularly terrific if they are to satisfy their title aspirations.
What about Natisha Hiedeman? Or, Azurá Stevens?
Of course, it may not be the licensed stars who make the essential contributions.
Both the Sun and Sky have a young function gamer whose efficiency through the very first 2 video games recommends that she might end up being a more popular x-factor in Game 3. Although plus-minus can be a deceptive stat, particularly when the sample size is just 2 video games, it deserves taking a look at the 2 most favorable gamers for each group — Natisha Hiedeman and Azurá Stevens.
A plus-7 in Game 1 and plus-13 in Game 2, Hiedeman has actually worked as a stable off-the-bench existence for the Sun. On offense, she is a threatening 3-point shooter who has the possible to swing a quarter by draining pipes several deep balls. She likewise has actually been a reputable playmaker, tallying 6 helps to one turnover in 2 video games. While undersized on defense, she is pesky, amounting to 2 blocks and a take in the playoffs.
Stevens was a plus-8 in Game 1 and plus-10 in Game 2, utilizing her length to great result even as she is taking on the substantially more powerful Connecticut front court. In Game 1, Stevens had a box score-filling effort, with 8 points, 7 rebounds, a set of helps, a block and a take. In Game 2, she scored an effective 10 points while likewise utilizing her length to trouble the Joneses.
Hiedeman or Stevens can assist her team win on the margins. In a Game 3 that might boil down to the wire, these margins might make all the distinction.
No. 6 seed Chicago Sky (3-1) vs. No. 1 seed Connecticut Sun (1-1)
When: Sunday, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL
How to enjoy: ESPN or TSN2
Key to the match: As both head coaches explained after Game 2, the travel conditions from Uncasville, CT to Chicago, IL were far (far, far) from perfect, with both companies required to browse several flights, several taking a trip celebrations and hostile hours in order get here in the Windy City. Unfortunately, this off-court obstacle might affect what unfolds on the court in Game 3. It would be more suitable, obviously, if things included to the wood were determinative. Instead, which group much better endured unpleasant travel conditions might have the edge in Game 3. Additionally, it would be dispiriting if a Sunday afternoon playoff display in between 2 star-studded teams was slow and careless due to take a trip. Surely, there is a much better service.
Sky injury report: none
Sun injury report: none