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Chicago brings home its first WNBA championship trophy

For Candace Parker, Sunday's WNBA final was the culmination of a personal goal: to bring a WNBA title to her hometown of Chicago.

She pulled it off, along with the rest of the Chicago Sky, beating the Phoenix Mercury 80-74 in Game 4. It marks the team's first WNBA championship win in franchise history.

It was years coming

After spending 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks, Parker arrived in Chicago this season with the dream of bringing home the Sky's first championship win. Parker grew up in the suburb of Naperville, Ill.

They were up against difficult odds. Despite entering the game's fourth quarter behind by nine points, the Sky managed to win the game helped in part by Allie Quigley's 26 points and Parker's 13 rebounds. Sky forward Kahleah Copper was awarded MVP honors for the championship.

At the sound of the final buzzer, Parker ran courtside and embraced her family.

It was a sold-out crowd in Chicago's Wintrust Arena for the game.

"It feels amazing," Parker said. "Look at the city, man. They all showed up."

Former President Barack Obama gave his hometown team some praise on Twitter, writing, "Congrats to our new WNBA champs, @ChicagoSky! I couldn't be prouder of this team — they worked hard for this moment, and have made our city proud."

The Sky's win made coach James Wade the third Black male coach to win a WNBA championship.

Before the game Sunday, the WNBA players' union took out a full-page print ad in the New York Times in support of reproductive rights and against Texas' six-week abortion ban.

NPR's Code Switch examined how Black women often lead with their activism, on and off the court.

This story originally appeared in the Morning Edition live blog.

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Nell Clark is an editor at Morning Edition and a writer for NPR's Live Blog. She pitches stories, edits interviews and reports breaking news. She started in radio at campus station WVFS at Florida State University, then covered climate change and the aftermath of Hurricane Michael for WFSU in Tallahassee, Fla. She joined NPR in 2019 as an intern at Weekend All Things Considered. She is proud to be a member of NPR's Peer-to-Peer Trauma Support Team, a network of staff trained to support colleagues dealing with trauma at work. Before NPR, she worked as a counselor at a sailing summer camp and as a researcher in a deep-sea genetics lab.