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Inside the Box Score: 2021 WNBA Finals, Game 4

For the first time in franchise history, the Chicago Sky are WNBA champions as they rallied to defeat the Phoenix Mercury 80-74 in Game 4 on Sunday in Chicago. Trailing by 14 points with 3:16 left in the third quarter, the Sky would outscore the Mercury 35-15 down the stretch to earn the win and clinch the championship.

Let’s dig into the numbers behind Chicago’s win with a look inside the box score.

Courtney Vandersloot dished out double digit assists in each game of the series and finished with a Finals record 50 dimes.

Records and Milestones

• Courtney Vandersloot furthered her records for most assists in a single postseason (102) and WNBA Finals (50). Vandersloot recorded the second-most assists in a WNBA Finals game with 15. Sue Bird holds the record with 16 in Game 1 of the 2020 WNBA Finals.

• Vandersloot became the first player to record double-figure assists in four consecutive Finals games in the same series, and five straight games spanning back to the 2014 WNBA Finals. Additionally, she now ranks third all-time in career Finals assists (70).

• Candace Parker surpassed Maya Moore for second all-time in WNBA Playoffs history with 383 field goals made. Diana Taurasi remains in first place with 478 playoff field goals made. Parker also now ranks fifth in rebounding in WNBA Finals history (118).

• Brittney Griner recorded her 100th career postseason block, becoming just the second player in league history to reach the triple-digit mark behind all-time leader Lisa Leslie (132).

Allie Quigley led the Sky in scoring in Game 4 (26 points) and for the series (18.0 PPG).

Traditional Stats

• Allie Quigley scored a team-high 26 points on 64.3% (9-14) shooting from the field, 50.0% (5-10) from 3-point range, and a perfect 3-3 at the free throw line. Quigley finished as the Sky’s leading scorer for the series, averaging 18.0 points per game.

• Candace Parker posted a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds (tied for fifth-most in Finals history), while adding five assists and four steals. There have only been five games in WNBA playoff history in which a player has posted at least 10 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals. Only two of those games have come in the Finals – both against the Mercury: Parker in Game 4 in 2021 and Tamika Catchings in Game 3 in 2009.

• In Game 1 of the semifinals, Courtney Vandersloot recorded only the second triple-double in the history of the WNBA Playoffs. She fell one rebound shy of posting the first in Finals history in Game 4 as she finished with 10 points, 15 assists and nine boards in the win.

• The Sky outscored the Mercury by a team-best 65 points in Vandersloot’s 133 minutes on the court in the series as she finished with averages of 11.5 points, 12.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds and shot 52.5% from the field.

• Kahleah Copper scored 10 points on 5-13 shooting in Game 4, and was named 2021 WNBA Finals MVP after averaging 17.0 points and 5.5 rebounds for the series.

• Brittney Griner scored a game-high 28 points on 63.2% (12-19) shooting. However, the rest of the Mercury combined to shoot just 32.7% (16-49) in Game 4. Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith each scored 16 for the Mercury, and combined to shoot 11-34 (32.4%) from the field and 5-16 (31.3%) from beyond the arc.

• Allie Quigley led the game in plus/minus as the Sky outscored the Mercury by 13 points in her 37 minutes on the court. Diana Taurasi finished at a minus-22 as the Mercury were outscored by 22 points in her 33 minutes on the court.

• In Game 4, Courtney Vandersloot scored 10 points on her own (including a jumper in the lane to ice the game with 23.7 seconds to play) and created another 32 points with her 15 assists. Vandersloot was a contributor on 42 of Chicago’s 80 points (52.5%) in the game.

• For the series, Vandersloot scored 46 points and created 113 with her assists as she was directly involved in 46.4% of Chicago’s total offense in the Finals.

Game 1: 12 points scored, 26 points created by assists
Game 2: 20 points scored, 32 points created by assists
Game 3: 4 points scored, 23 points created by assists
Game 4: 10 points scored, 32 points created by assists

Candace Parker finished the Finals fourth in scoring (14.5 PPG), second in rebounding (8.5 RPG), third in assists (3.5 APG) and first in steals (2.3 SPG).

Advanced Stats

• Game 4 was played at the fastest pace of any game of the Finals – 81.50 possessions per 40 minutes.

• Courtney Vandersloot finished the Finals with the highest offensive rating (109.1) and net rating (23.6) of any player that logged at least 20 total minutes in the series. Azura’ Stevens had the best defensive rating (85.4).

• Of the 12 players that attempted at least 20 shots in the series, Stefanie Dolson posted the highest true shooting percentage at 63.0% (13-23 FG, 3-9 3P, 0-0 FT). She was followed by Candace Parker (60.2%), Brittney Griner (60.0%), Kahleah Copper (59.6%) and Allie Quigley (58.6%) rounding out the top five. Griner was the only Mercury player ranked in the top seven.

Miscellaneous Stats

• The Sky won the points in the paint battle in each game of the 2021 Finals. In Game 4, Chicago finished with a 44-32 advantage with each Sky starter scoring at least six points in the paint, led by Candace Parker’s 10. Brittney Griner led all players with 16 points in the paint, accounting for half of Phoenix’s total.

• After Phoenix led in fast break points in the first two games (17-10) of the series, the Sky held a 20-5 advantage in the final two games of the series, including a 10-3 edge in the clinching Game 4. Finals MVP Kahleah Copper led all players with 12 fast break points in the series, with six of those coming in Game 4.

• A similar trend occurred in points off turnovers, as Phoenix held the advantage in each of the first two games of the series (49-32) before Chicago flipped the script in the final two games of the series (36-15). In Game 4, Phoenix committed 15 turnovers, which led to 14 Chicago points, while the Sky committed just 10 turnovers for eight Mercury points.

• The Sky finished the series with a 39-28 advantage in second-chance points, including a 7-0 edge in Game 4.

Scoring Stats

• The Sky posted their highest assist percentage of the series in Game 4 as they assisted on 83.9% of their field goals made (26 assists on 31 baskets). Chicago’s only loss in the series was also their lowest assist percentage (54.1%).

Brittney Griner led all players in scoring in Game 4 (28 points) and for the series (23.3 PPG).

Usage Stats

• The Mercury Big Three led all players that logged at least 10 minutes in usage rate in Game 4: Diana Taurasi (28.0%), Skylar Diggins-Smith (27.5%) and Brittney Griner (23.6%).

• Despite posting her lowest usage rate of the series, Griner made the most of her opportunities as she scored 39.4% of Phoenix’s points while she was on the court, while using fewer than a quarter of the Mercury’s possessions.

• The Sky’s usage was much more balanced as no player that played at least five minutes posted a usage percentage above 21.8% (Kahleah Copper) or below 16.8% (Diamond DeShields). Allie Quigley scored a third (33.3%) of the Sky’s points while she was on court, while using 21.6% of Chicago’s possessions.

Four Factors

• The only Mercury players to post an effective field goal percentage higher than 50% in Game 4 were Bria Hartley and Kia Vaughn, who each logged six minutes off the bench. Skylar Diggins-Smith led the Mercury starters at 45.4%.

• Kahleah Copper (48.3%) was the only Sky starter to not post an effective field goal percentage of at least 50% in Game 4. Allie Quigley led the Sky at 53.2% shooting.

• Both teams attempted 13 free throws in Game 4 as their free throw rates (comparing free throw attempts to field goal attempts) were nearly identical as well.

• The team that posted the lower turnover percentage won each game in the series. The Sky posted their lowest turnover percentage of the series (12.2%) in Game 4, compared to the Mercury’s 18.5% in the deciding game.

Game Charts

• The Mercury held their largest lead of the game – and the Finals – when they went ahead by 14 points (59-45) with 3:16 remaining in the third quarter. From that point on, the Sky outscored the Mercury 35-15 to turn a 14-point deficit into a six-point win.

• Chicago’s starters finished Game 4 with a 70-65 advantage over the Phoenix starters. For the series, the Sky advantage was 277-243 (plus-34).

• Chicago’s bench finished Game 4 with a 10-9 advantage over the Phoenix reserves. for the series, the Sky advantage was 66-49 (plus-17).