Sparks star Candace Parker wins Defensive Player of the Year - Sports Illustrated

Candace Parker Wins First Defensive Player of the Year Award

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Candace Parker added another accolade to her Hall-of-Fame career on Thursday as the Sparks forward was named the WNBA's Defensive Player of the Year.

Parker has already won a WNBA championship, WNBA Finals MVP, two regular-season MVPs and a Rookie of the Year award. She won Defensive Player of the Year on Friday after her 13th WNBA season. 

Parker credited former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt for her defensive excellence in 2020. Los Angeles' forward paired with Summitt to win two NCAA titles in 2007 and 2008, and the ex-coach served as a mentor to Parker before she passed away in June 2016.

"We all know the first thing that popped to my mind was Coach Summitt," Parker told ESPN's Mechelle Voepel. "I was excited for rebounding this year; that was heavy on my mind. She always was on me about rebounding."

"Her phrase still rings in my head: 'Offense sells tickets, defense wins games, rebounding wins championships.' ... She definitely was heavy on my mind when I heard that I won this award."

The Sparks finished third at 15-7 in 2019-20, but they were eliminated in the second-round of the 2020 playoffs. The Storm, Lynx, Aces and Sun remain in the chase for the 2020 championship at the IMG Aca