While taking a 2-1 series lead into Game 4 of the WNBA semifinals Tuesday night, the Chicago Sky repeated a popular Kobe Bryant meme — “Job’s not finished” — as a reminder not to get too comfortable.
Coach James Wade wanted the Sky to keep the same defensive intensity they showed in Game 3 on Sunday, when they limited the Connecticut Sun to 18-for-48 shooting in the paint.
“You try to build on what you do well, and that means getting better at it and taking a step forward,” Wade said before Game 4. “We never try to stay in the same place (because) that means we’re not growing.”
But with a chance to put away the series and return to the WNBA Finals, the Sky relaxed.
The Sun raced to a big early lead and never let up in a 104-80 blowout in Uncasville, Conn., that evened the series at two games apiece. The decisive Game 5 will be Thursday at Wintrust Arena (7 p.m., ESPN2).
The Sky looked a step slow defensively and once again got off to a slow start on offense, falling behind 22-6 less than six minutes into the game. Several Sun starters were in foul trouble, but the Sky never took advantage, allowing the Sun to force them outside.
Facing elimination, the Sun dominated on both ends. They set a WNBA playoff record with 62 points in the paint, breaking a mark the Sky set against the New York Liberty in the first round.
At one point in the first half, the Sky were able to chip away at the Sun’s lead, but led by Alyssa Thomas, Jonquel Jones and DeWanna Bonner, the Sun responded and went to the locker room up 58-41.
The second half saw more of the same with the Sun playing the Sky’s style of play. The Connecticut offense kept the Sky from clogging the paint, and the Sun were able to score on backdoor cuts with ease.
Bonner and Courtney Williams scored 19 points apiece as the Sun shot 56.9% from the field (41 of 72). Thomas added 17 as six Sun players scored in double figures.
The Sky also had six in double figures, led by Kahleah Copper’s 16 points and Emma Meesseman’s 14. But they were unable to keep up with the Sun’s ball movement and trailed by as many as 27 points.