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Parker, Cooper help Sky hold off Wings in WNBA playoff opener

Parker, Cooper help Sky hold off Wings in WNBA playoff opener

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CHICAGO — Kahleah Cooper scored 23 points, Candace Parker had a double-double and the Chicago Sky beat the Dallas Wings 81-64 in a first-round WNBA playoff game on Thursday night.

Parker finished with 11 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and three steals for the sixth-seeded Sky, who advance to a second-round game on Sunday against third-seeded Phoenix or fourth-seeded Seattle, the defending champion.

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The seventh-seeded Wings were eliminated from the playoffs. The first two rounds are single elimination, with the league’s top two teams getting a bye into the semifinals, which are best-of-five.

Courtney Vandersloot had 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists, nine in the fourth quarter after the Wings had cut a 21-point first-half deficit to 55-52 early in the period. Allie Quigley added 15 points for Chicago.

Arike Ogunbowale led Dallas with 22 points and Satou Sabally added 12.

Chicago led by as many as 21 points before settling for a 44-29 halftime advantage. Cooper had 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting and Parker had seven points, nine rebounds, six assists and two steals.

The Wings, who entered the game with less playoff experience combined than four different Chicago players, charged back in the third quarter, outscoring the Sky 21-11 behind Sabally’s eight points.

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Allisha Gray’s close-range shot early in the fourth quarter cut the deficit to three and Ogunbowale’s 3-pointer with 4:22 left made it 68-62. But Dallas didn’t get any closer as Vandersloot scored seven points in a 13-1 closing run.

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