(Staples Center, Los Angeles) —The game’s theme was a timely tribute to the memory of the late and legendary NCAA Women’s Head Coach of the University of Tennessee, Pat Summitt. Candace Parker was the leading figure in this special commemoration that took place in front of the supportive and highly appreciative L.A. Sparks fans. Candace played for her renowned Coach from 2005-2008. During her college career Parker took the Lady Vols to two national championship titles. In addition, she was named the NCAA’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player (2007, 2008), the SEC’s Athlete of the Year (2007, 2008), the Associated Press’ Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year (2007, 2008), and winner of the John R. Wooden Award (2007, 2008), just to name several.
This particular relationship between Coach and Player has become a shining example of the bond that transcends the sport of basketball and becomes a gratifying life tribute between two good friends. Glad that we could become participants in their relationship through an event of this type. Thank you Sparks and Candace for making this happen. Parker paid a fitting tribute to Coach Summitt by wearing custom made shoes in the game that she and her daughter, Lailaa, designed. Branded as “HERoics”, the shoes displayed shades of orange and purple with Coach Summitt’s name highlighted on the inside flap. (See photo gallery for close-up views).
(Brief Game Summary): And once again, in a great tribute to her legendary University of Tennessee Coach, Candace played extremely well and showed her dominant “A” game that was so finely tuned and developed under Coach Summitt’s tutelage. And getting back to the WNBA and her performance against the Mercury, Parker, affectionately known to all her fans as “CP3”, led the Sparks to an (84-74) win with a 12 point, 11 rebound “double-double.” A game that Coach Summitt, no doubt, would be very pleased with. Joining Parker in double digit scoring were Nneka Ogwumike (24), Sydney Wiese (12), and Chelsea Gray (10). The Sparks led at the half by the score of (44-32). The defense they played in this half was the key factor in this victory, as the Sparks had no problem scoring another 40 points in the second half, while holding the Mercury to just 16 points in the 3rd quarter. With the win, the Sparks improved their overall record to (14-8).
The surging Sparks, winners of their last five consecutive games, were credited with winning their third game in a row, during this current home-stand, when they disrupted any momentum that the Phoenix Mercury had accumulated going into this Western Conference game.
FINAL SCORE: Sparks 84 Mercury 74
CELEBRITY WATCH: Paul Pierce, NBA Analyst & 2008 NBA Champion & NBA Finals MVP, Boston Celtics
PHOTO GALLERY CREDIT: Erik Sarni, East L.A. Sports Scene Productions