BROOKLYN, NY – It’s been an up-and-down homecoming for one of the greatest players in the history of the Women’s National Basketball Association.
After playing in the season-opening win over the Mystics in Washington, Candace Parker would miss the next eight games due to an ankle injury. During that stretch, the Sky went 1-7 and dropped to five games under .500.
But upon her return, along with that of Allie Quigley and Stefanie Dolson, the team has been completely transformed. Chemistry that was hoped for before the season started began to happen and the wins started coming as the team’s creeped closer to .500.
On Tuesday night, for the first time since the first week of the season, the Sky has more wins than losses, and it’s fitting that Parker enjoyed her finest game of the 2021 season to make it happen.
Parker made the most of her 23 minutes on the floor, scoring a season-high 23 points while also grabbing 12 rebounds and six assists in the Sky’s 92-72 win over the Liberty at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.
With the victory, the Sky went a game over .500 at 8-7 as their winning streak hit six games. In many of the contests, a different member of the team has taken on the role of primary scorer, and this night it was the veteran Parker.
She was 9-of-16 from the field including 3-of-4 from behind the arc, with her 16 shots the most of the season. With Parker in the lineup, the Sky are now 7-0 in the 2021 season.
Allie Quigley scored 14 with Diamond DeShields getting 11 points while Courtney Vandersloot had another double-double with ten points and ten assists. Kahleah Copper also had ten points in the balanced effort that included 26 assists with just nine turnovers.
Parker’s big offensive night rose her season average to 13.1 points per game to go along with 8.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per contest. What is most encouraging for the forward, however, is how well the team has been able to share the scoring load this season, which so far has mimicked that of a champion.
“I think it says a lot about, night in and night out, there’s going to be different people that step up, and that’s what’s special,” said Parker. “On the really special team’s that I’ve been on, the championship-contending teams, you don’t know. Today could be the day you win a championship. Today could be the day you decide to go to the gym, get an extra shot that puts you in a position to be there when your team needs you.
“We don’t know what today’s game meant. I think a lot of people kinda wait until the end to kinda start jockeying for positions when there’s four games left and it’s like ‘Ok, we’ve got to win this game.’ Take care of it now and I think that’s the mentality that our team has. There’s going to be nights different people step up, and we need everybody, and we’ve talked about that this season.”
So far she along with the rest of the Sky has done so to put themselves back in contention nearing the halfway point of the 2021 WNBA season.