Sky shuts down Sparks' Parker in big win
History was not made Friday night at Wintrust Arena in the Chicago Sky's game against the visiting Los Angeles Sparks.
You kind of figured it wouldn't be, but the idea was intriguing nonetheless.
Candace Parker was not held scoreless in a WNBA game.
It would have been historic had she been.
The former Naperville Central star has never been held scoreless in a game over her 12-year WNBA career. Like not even once.
Yet, she was flirting with that benchmark by going scoreless over the first three-and-a-half quarters against the Sky.
Parker finally hit her first basket with under five minutes left to play, a 3-pointer, which saved her scoring streak. She finished with 5 points on 2-of-9 shooting.
But the fact that the Sky so severely limited one of the best players in the league, while also hitting 12 big 3-pointers at a 43 percent clip (12-for 28), aided in a big victory for the home team.
The Sky defeated Los Angeles for the first time in three tries this season, 91-81, securing a win that forces them into a tie with the Sparks for fourth place in the WNBA standings. Both teams are now 15-10 on the season.
The Sky now has only nine games left in the regular season and are trying to secure a first-round bye in the playoffs by finishing among the top four teams in the standings.
"(This win) is huge," said Sky guard Allie Quigley, who led all scorers with 26 points on 4-of-9 shooting from 3-point range. "Big picture, obviously we have the playoffs in the back of our minds. We know right now that every win is just huge.
"We're going to go game-by-game and try to grind it out to get a high seed."
The Sky, which led most of the game and built a lead as big as 18 points, got double-figures out of all five starters. Both point guard Courtney Vandersloot (17 points, 9 assists) and forward Stefanie Dolson (10 points, 4 assists) had some big baskets down the stretch.
Forward Diamond DeShields finished with 11 points and center Astou Ndour had 11 points to go along with 9 rebounds.
Ndour stepped into the starting lineup for the second game in a row in place of injured starter Jantel Lavender, who is out for the season with a fractured left foot suffered in last weekend's win over Las Vegas. Lavender had surgery on her foot earlier this week.
"(Astou) is long. She's 6-foot-5 and she has a 6-8 or 6-9 wingspan and she can space the floor (with a solid outside shot). Being that long and being able to space the floor is pretty unique," Chicago Sky coach James Wade said of Ndour. "And she can play above the rim. That gives us a dimension that we need."
Point guard Chelsea Gray paced Los Angeles with 25 points and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Nneka Ogwumike chipped in with 16 points apiece. The Sparks also got 10 points from guard Alana Beard off the bench.