Local Editorials

Our View: Chicago, celebrate a new champion: the WNBA Sky

As most of Northern Illinois was watching the Green Bay Packers own the Chicago Bears on Sunday, a growing number of fans were enjoying a late rally by the Chicago Sky to win its first WNBA championship, beating the Phoenix Mercury, 80-74.

The Sky won the WNBA championship before a sold-out crowd at Wintrust Arena, which seats more than 10,500, and is home to the DePaul University Blue Demons men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Congratulations to the Sky and its fan base, which grew during the WNBA playoffs as more people took notice of the team’s late run of success.

The Sky qualified for the postseason as the No. 6 seed after finishing the regular season with a 16-16 record. They defeated the Dallas Wings and Minnesota Lynx in single-elimination games before besting the top-seed Connecticut Sun 3-1 in the semifinals. Chicago last made the WNBA Finals in 2014, losing to the Mercury in three games.

The Sky roster has a distinct local flavor. Candace Parker of Naperville Central decided to come back home when she signed a two-year contract with Chicago during the past offseason. Parker, the 2008 WNBA No. 1 draft pick, had a 13-year run with the Los Angeles Sparks, where she won a championship and two MVP trophies.

“It feels amazing. My high school coach is here,” Parker said after the victory. " ... Got the whole city here. We got the whole city here. We are champions for life now.”

Chicago’s roster features three other players from the Chicago area: Dana Evans (Gary, Indiana), Ruthy Hebard (Chicago) and Allie Quigley (Joliet). Quigley played for DePaul and has been with the Sky since 2013.

The Bears and the Sky were each playing just miles from each other at the same time on Sunday. In the end, the Sky garnered the bigger headlines, and deservedly so.

We hope this is just the beginning as more fans embrace the region’s WNBA team and its surprising success. The recognition follows a growth Shaw Local News Network has witnessed in recent years of interest in girls athletics in a variety of sports. This is awesome to see and we hope the interest among female athletes and their fans only grows.

Much acclaim with best wishes to the Chicago Sky.