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Two teams and (at most) five games remain in the 2021 WNBA season. Here’s what you need to know.

When are the games?

Game 1 – Monday 11 October, 06:00 AEDT
Replay on ESPN2 14:30

Game 2 – Thursday 14 October, 12:00 AEDT
Live on ESPN2
Watch-along with me on Twitch

Game 3 – Saturday 16 October, 12:00 AEDT
Live on ESPN2
Watch-along with me on Twitch

Game 4 – Monday 18 October, 06:00 AEDT if needed

Game 5 – Wednesday 20 October, 12:00 AEDT if needed

All games also live on WNBA League Pass, available for US$1.99 per game

Some games may be picked up for broadcast on SBS Viceland and this post will be updated during the series.

Who’s playing?

The Chicago Sky faces the Phoenix Mercury in a replay of the 2014 WNBA Finals. Phoenix won that year, sweeping the Sky 3-0 to claim their third title in franchise history.

The 2014 Finals mark the only appearance in the championship series by the Sky; they have never won a WNBA title.

How about storylines?

Two marquee players are potentially adding championships to their already-impressive legacies.

Candace Parker joined Chicago last season, after spending the first 10 years of her career at the Los Angeles Sparks. Parker won a ring with the Sparks in 2016, but signing with the Sky is a homecoming of sorts; she attended high school in Illinois. To borrow an NBA analogy, it’s almost a LeBron-returning-to-Cleveland moment.

On the other side of the ledger is multiple Olympian and 3-time WNBA champion, Diana Taurasi. Taurasi is looking to cap off a golden year, after being part of the United States team that won gold in Tokyo. All of Phoenix’s titles (2007, 2009, 2014) have come with Taurasi on the team, and at 39 she shows no signs of slowing down; she dropped 37 on Las Vegas in game 2 of the semi-finals.

What other star power do we have?

In addition to Taurasi, Phoenix has one other 2020 Olympian on the roster; that’s 6’9″ centre Brittney Griner, who is averaging 21 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2 blocks for the Mercury this season.

Any WNBL players to scout in this series?

Only one player is headed south once the series finishes. Australian Alanna Smith is on the roster for the Phoenix Mercury but has only averaged 3 minutes in the playoffs so far, and was not in the rotation for the last two games against Las Vegas. She will suit up for the Adelaide Lightning in the upcoming WNBL campaign.

Phoenix has Brianna Turner on the roster (Adelaide 2020), while Kia Nurse (Canberra 2019-2020) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in game 4 of the semi-finals, and is unavailable for Phoenix in this series.

If you want to include coaches in the list of alumni, then add Phoenix head coach Sandy Brondello and Chicago assistant- and Brondello’s husband- Olaf Lange.

So that we can mock you later, who’s going to win?

Phoenix has more star power, but there are concerns over their depth; the Mercury basically only ran a 7-deep rotation in the semi-finals against the Aces, and injuries to Nurse (out for the rest of the season) and Sophie Cunningham (calf strain) mean they’re even less deep than before.

Chicago are possibly deeper; the duo of Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot (1st in the league in assists, 8.6apg) run the backcourt, and swing Kahleah Copper (12.8ppg) has stepped up her game in the post-season. Rooting for the underdog- I suppose, given that the Sky have never won a ring- let’s go for Chicago in 4. But don’t underestimate Phoenix’s big guns.