What to watch for in the Sky-Liberty’s winner-take-all Game 3


BROOKLYN – Ideally, this would have been settled in Chicago, but a few bad minutes at the end of Game 1 have forced the defending WNBA champions into this position.

After dropping the late lead last Wednesday at Wintrust Arena in a loss to Liberty, the Sky scored a record-breaking triumph over New York to force a “winner-take-all” contest on Tuesday night in Brooklyn.

The Sky and Liberty will meet at 8 PM at the Barclays Center to decide who will move onto the semifinals to face either the Sun or the Wings.

Here are a few things to watch out for during Game 3 tonight.

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
  • When it comes to Elimination Games as of late, the Sky have been strong

The team has won the last three contests which they’ve played in which they faced elimination, including their victory Saturday over the Liberty at Wintrust Arena. The 100-62 triumph is the largest margin of victory in the history of the league for a playoff game and gave the Sky the opportunity to play Tuesday.

Last season, the Sky beat the Wings in a single-elimination first round game at Wintrust Arena and then did the same in the second round on the road against the Lynx to start their championship journey. The team’s last elimination game loss came in the first round of the 2020 WNBA Playoffs in the Bradenton “bubble” in the first round against the Sun.

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
  • Sky Success in Past Game 3 Elimination Scenarios

Overall, the Sky are 8-6 in elimination games in their history in the playoffs dating back to 2013. In a three-game series where they’ve forced or been forced to a Game 3, the team is 2-1 with both victories coming in 2014.

That season, the Sky won a first round Game 3 on the road against the Dream then won the Eastern Conference title against the Fever with a Game 3 triumph in Indianapolis.

In 2015, Indiana got payback as they eliminated the Fever in Game 3 of the first round on the Sky’s home floor.

  • Quigley Knows The Mindset

One of the most memorable performances for guard Allie Quigley in her Chicago Sky career came in that 2014 Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 against the Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on September 3rd.

On that night, she came off the bench to score a game-high 24 points on 7-of-9 shooting including four three-pointers to help the Sky win it 75-62 in what at that point was the biggest moment in franchise history.

That contest isn’t on her mind as much as the team heads on the road for a “winner-take-all” Game 3 for the first time since that night. Instead, she focused more on what the Sky did in Game 2 in the 38-point win and their hopes of matching it for Game 3.

“We’re just trying to focus on what we bring,” said Quigley when asked about having to play the decisive contest on the road. “We know that if we bring what we’re capable of, like last game, it doesn’t matter where we play. We’re really just focused on our energy and what we can bring. We know if we do that, we’re gonna win the game.”

  • Close Match-Ups In Brooklyn

During the regular season, the Sky and Liberty had a pair of entertaining contests that were played at the Barclays Center.

On June 12th, Courtney Vandersloot completed a strong fourth quarter for the Sky as she hit the game-winning three-pointer with 1.6 seconds left to give the Sky an 88-86 victory. The contest on July 23rd in Brooklyn was just as tight, but the Liberty had the heroics this time, as Sabrina Ionescu got a layup and drew a foul with her team down two with 9.7 seconds left.

After New York went up by three, Emma Meesseman had a three-pointer to tie the game as time expired, but it was off the mark as the Liberty won it 83-80.

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