WNBA Finals Game 1, Phoenix Mercury vs. Chicago Sky: Live stream, time, date, how to watch
The WNBA Finals will feature quite the unexpected meeting when the No. 5 seed Phoenix Mercury take on the No. 6 seed Chicago Sky. Since 2016, only once has a WNBA Finals not featured a No. 1 seed vs. a No. 2 seed — and that game still was a No. 1 vs. No. 3 matchup.
How to watch:
The best-of-five series kicks off Sunday in Phoenix with a 3 p.m. ET tip on ABC. Game 2 in Phoenix is scheduled for Wednesday (9 p.m. ET on ESPN) and Game 3 (9 p.m. ET on ESPN2) in Chicago is scheduled for Friday. Games 4 and 5 will be played if needed on Oct. 17 and Oct. 19, respectively.
How they got here:
In the semifinals, the Sky stunned the top-seeded Connecticut Sun, which had finished the regular season on a 14-game winning streak. Candace Parker is leading her hometown team back into the finals for the first time since 2014 after leaving Los Angeles for Chicago during free agency. Parker, Courtney Vanderlsoot, Kahleah Copper and the rest of the crew found a way to speed up the Sun, and Connecticut could never regain its identity.
Meanwhile, the Mercury upset No. 2 seed Las Vegas Aces in a Game 5 stunner. Phoenix was dealing with two major injuries: Kia Nurse tore her ACL in Game 4 and will miss the remainder of the season, and guard Sophie Cunningham missed both Game 4 and Game 5 with a left calf strain. Cunningham is listed as questionable in the injury report for Game 1 of the finals. Without those two players, Diana Taurasi did DT things, only adding to her legacy as a playoff legend. She’s now 16-2 in win-or-go-home games. Shey Peddy played big minutes and Brittney Griner grabbed a huge block to save the win.
The Athletic’s Game 1 predictions:
Chantel Jennings: I predicted Chicago as the WNBA champs back in May. Then, for about three months, the Sky made me look very, very uninformed. But given that Chicago has made it all the way here, I’m going to stick with that prediction and say Chicago will win as long as this series is played in four games or fewer.
If the finals extend to five games, then I’m breaking with my prediction and saying Phoenix will win its third championship. Is that cheating to pick both? Yes, it probably is. But considering how Phoenix closed out Game 5 against Las Vegas, and the thought of the Mercury having the X-Factor at home — that’s a lot for even a sharp-shooting team like Chicago to overcome. But if the Sky can manage to close it out at home, I like their odds.
I expect Chicago to jump out to the 1-0 lead with a win today. Yes, they had to fly across the country on Friday (and then fly from Vegas to Phoenix on Saturday), and they’ll be playing an earlier game. But the Mercury bench is just too short to keep up with Chicago, and I think the Sky is really going to push the pace in the finals opener. That level of intensity and speed is going to be tough for a short bench (one that already was short before the Mercury lost Kia Nurse for the playoffs and Sophie Cunningham indefinitely). Ultimately the Sky will be able to take the early advantage on the road.
Charlotte Carroll: Given how the Sky are playing, I’m going with Chicago to win this series. The matchup against the Sun was favorable as they were able to force them to play their style and Connecticut just couldn’t find its footing. But even then, the Sky just looked like a well-oiled machine for most of the series and were able to close out the last game in a more dominating fashion than expected. I’m going with Chicago in four games.
Similarly, they should take Game 1 considering the Mercury didn’t get much recovery time from the semifinals and they don’t have bench depth. Both teams have momentum, but it’s the Sky’s to lose.
The 2021 WNBA Finals begin Sunday when the Phoenix Mercury and Chicago Sky faceoff in a matchup full of goats. Sky’s Candace Parker – two-time league MVP – and Mercury’s Diana Taurasi – two-time Finals MVP – will go head to head in the best-of-five series.
Securing a sport in the Finals for the second time in franchise history, Chicago knocked off no.1-ranked Connecticut Sun Wednesday in Game 5.
Courtney Vandersloot led the Sky team with 19 points, four rebounds and four assists alongside Kahleah Copper who had 18 points, 6 rebound and 2 assist and Parker who was 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Chicago Sky center Candace Parker is a two-time WNBA MVP.
Phoenix defeated the Las Vegas Aces in Game 5 of their semifinals matchup Friday night, to solidify their Finals return for the first time since 2014. Brittney Griner had 28 points and nine rebounds and Taurasi had 24 against the Aces.
This year’s Finals will be a rematch of the 2014 title series when Phoenix swept Chicago 3-0.
Here is everything you need to know for Game 1:
What time does Game 1 start?
The game will begin at 3 p.m. ET at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ.
What TV channel is Game 1 on?
Presented by YouTube TV, the sereies will be availble on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. Sunday’s game will be broadcasted on ABC.
How can I watch Game 1 online via live stream?
Game 1 can be streamed on ESPN.com, the ESPN app or fuboTV.
Game 2-5 schedule
Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 13, 9 p.m. (ESPN) at Phoenix
Game 3: Friday, Oct. 15, 9 p.m. (ESPN2) at Chicago
Game 4: Sunday, Oct. 17, 3 p.m. (ESPN)* at Chicago
Game 5: Tuesday, Oct. 19, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)* at Phoenix