Parker's back and helping Sparks turnaround season
Candace Parker knew it was time to come back to the WNBA when her daughter Lailaa asked why she wasn't playing with the Sparks any more.
''She didn't understand that I was taking some time off,'' Parker said. ''She said she wanted me to play for them.''
So Parker, who sat out the first half of the season to rest mentally and physically, returned to Los Angeles after the All-Star break. The Sparks have won four of six since the two-time league MVP came back.
Los Angeles has moved into fourth place in the Western Conference with Parker in the fold. She's averaging 16.3 points, 10 rebounds and 5.8 assists.
Despite playing her whole career in Los Angeles, Parker was concerned that her returning mid-season would be a disruption for the Sparks. She had lunch with veteran Alana Beard, who also came back around the same time as Parker from a knee injury, to gauge her teammates' feelings about her playing again.
''I wanted to get her thoughts, make sure it was all right for me to return,'' Parker said.
Parker spent the first two months of the season with her daughter and family in Florida. She also went to Knoxville to visit former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt.
The 28-year-old had knee surgery and plasma injections in her knee after the WNBA season last September. She then played professional in Russia in the winter and spring and needed a break.
''This wasn't about basketball, I just had to rest,'' she said. ''I'm in a good place now and was able to spend a lot of time with my family. When I started training again I was healthy instead of trying to push through injuries.''
STAT OF THE WEEK: Phoenix guard DeWanna Bonner made 59 straight free throws to set the single season mark before missing two straight. She broke Elena Delle Donne's record set earlier this season. Both fell short of the overall record of 66 consecutive makes set over two seasons by Eva Nemcova in 1999-2000.
SCARY SITUATION: San Antonio coach Dan Hughes injured his back in a collision with Stars guard Danielle Robinson in Washington on Wednesday night. Hughes left the court on a stretcher and was taken to a hospital. Fortunately he was able to fly back to San Antonio with the team on Thursday and coached in the team's victory Saturday over Seattle.
THINK PINK: The WNBA celebrated its annual Breast Health Awareness Week to help focus on prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. All 12 teams participated in special programming, live auctions and distribution of educational materials. Hughes auctioned off his tie after Saturday's game and raised several hundred dollars. The Chicago Sky dedicated to raise funds for the American Cancer Society and Gilda's Club in their three home games.
New York didn't have a home game during this past week, but will celebrate it on Tuesday. The Garden will be turned pink that night, including special lighting planned for the building's exterior.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Sky at Liberty on Tuesday. New York opened up a 1 1/2 game lead in the Eastern Conference with a comfortable win over Chicago on Friday. Epiphanny Prince scored a season-high 30 points in her return to the Windy City. The Sky rebounded with a big victory over Phoenix on Sunday and hope to close the gap in the East.