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Sparks Next Woman Up Mentality
By Khari Jones, Contributing Writer
Published September 3, 2020

Sparks star Candace Parker is currently averaging 13.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game (Facebook photo)

The Sparks defeated the Wings 91-83, and they are now 13-4 on the season. Veteran Candace Parker led the way with 22 points, ten rebounds, six assists, and four players in double figures. Sparks are playing outstanding basketball as a team.

 Even though they had full control control of the game, head coach Derek Fisher mentioned how frustrating it is to have the lead and let the Wings back in the game. “It’s frustrating as a coach and frustrating for the players as well. It’s not easy when you’re trying to figure out when to rest players and rest players. You can’t play Chelsea 40 minutes; you can’t play Candace 40 minutes a game. We have to get those players off the floor at times.” Fisher said that’s when the second unit players have to continue to take the challenge, responsibility, and ownership of what happens on both ends off the floor. He also states that the starters and best players have to get things going for them.

Sparks are in the process of becoming the best version of themselves. Fisher said one thing they have been preaching since April is falling in love with the process of being a champion.”

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Brittany Sykes finished the game with 19 points and four rebounds. She spoke on everyone staying ready whenever their number is called. “We all have that mentality of next man up and being ready. You never know what is going to happen in the moment.” She states that even though Nneka Ogwumike is injured, she trust that the team will hold it down for her until she returns from injury. All-WNBA candidate Chelsea Gray scored 16 points, a season-high eight rebounds, and three assists. Gray believes that everyone knows what they are capable of. “Any point in time we can put somebody on the floor, we have confidence in them. That’s what we’ve been preaching since the start of the season. No matter who we are playing against, its next man up. I think that’s what’s got us flowing right now. It doesn’t matter who is taking the credit, as long as we’re doing it together.

Candace Parker and Sykes are candidates for the Defensive Player of the Year. Sykes said, “Check stats against players that I’ve defended, check their numbers of other teams.” She notes that there is a lot of things that are not on the stat sheet that she brings on the team and believes that she should put her in the conversation for DPOY. “Honestly, respectfully, and humbly I think I should. I don’t think any guard wants to see me on the court defending them.” Parker stated she loves Sykes’s confidence, and she’s unbelievable. 

Parker paid homage to the late great John Thompson. “My favorite player is Allen Iverson. I just love the fact that John Thompson stood for so much. I don’t say this lightly, but he reminds me in a way Pat Summit. It was more than just basketball that he was coaching his men for. Dwyane Wade told me a story that if it wasn’t for Thompson standing up, many of these guys initially didn’t get into college, couldn’t have gone. There are a lot of players that will keep his legacy alive.”

Sykes looks forward to the opportunity to get better on Friday against Seattle. Sparks lost to the Storm earlier in the season.

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Categories: Basketball | Sports
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