Candace Parker has been gone for a minute however she is back at the jump off. She put on a show in her All-Star debut. Parker scored a record 23 points to lead the West to a 102-98 victory over the East on Saturday. Parker won her first All-Star MVP award. It was worth the wait.
The Los Angeles Sparks star was voted a starter for the 2011 game, but couldn’t play because of a knee injury. She also missed the 2009 game because she was still recovering from the birth of her daughter. Parker broke Swin Cash’s All-Star Game record of 22 points with a lay-up midway through the fourth quarter and finished with 11 rebounds.
Parker and her West teammates added icing on the cake sending retiring star Tina Thompson home with a victory. Thompson, who made her record ninth All-Star appearance, announced her retirement at the end of the season. She had a rough game missing all five of her attempts from the field, but fans still enjoyed her presence.
Chicago’s second-overall pick rookie and top vote getter Elena Delle Donne and number one-overall pick Brittney Griner missed their very first All-Star Game. Parker’s play helped the league overcome the loss of Griner and Delle Donne, who sat out because of injuries. Griner sat on the bench, while Delle Donne recovered at home in Delaware. The pair have been an attendance and ratings boon for the WNBA.
The game did not disappoint. For the first time, two women coached the game for the only time in its 11-year history. Lin Dunn of Indiana coached the East and Cheryl Reeve of Minnesota was in charge of the West. The WNBA had seven other first-time All-Stars in the game. That didn’t even include Parker. The game also featured the return of referee cam, with Lamont Simpson wearing a device that looks like a pair of glasses. Maya Moore floored the sell-out crowd by breaking out the classic dance move the worm. She repeated the move when she was introduced as a starter.
The first and second halfs were a tale of different stories. The East led by 11 early in the third quarter, Parker scored seven straight points. Down 100-98 with 30 seconds left, the East had a chance to take the lead, but Cappie Pondexter missed a 3-pointer. The West is now 8-3 all time in All-Star games against the East. Parker joined Lisa Leslie and Nikki Teasley as Sparks players who won the All-Star game MVP honors.
- Parker wins MVP, is she the game’s best player? (elite-insiders.com)
- Storm not represented among WNBA All-Star starters (blogs.seattletimes.com)