Sparks-Mystics Preview

Three games into her pro career, Candace Parker continues to make history.

Coming off one of the most dominant performances in the WNBA's 12-year history, Parker will try to help the Los Angeles Sparks bounce back from their first loss of the year as they continue a season-opening five-game road trip on Saturday against the Washington Mystics.

After a scoreless first half on Thursday, Parker finished with 16 points, 16 rebounds, six blocks, five assists and five steals, but Los Angeles fell 82-78 in double overtime to Indiana. Parker became the first player in WNBA history to record at least five in each of those categories in a single game.

"She's a great talent," said Indiana's Katie Douglas, who had the task of guarding Parker for most of the game. "She's obviously going to be a star, if not already a star, in this league. She does so many different things. I've never seen a player like her."

Parker, selected first overall in the draft after helping lead Tennessee to the 2007-08 national championship, already set a league record for most points in a debut when she scored 34 on May 17 in a win over defending champion Phoenix.

She is fifth in the WNBA with 20.7 points per game to go with a league-leading 11.3 rebounds, and the 6-foot-4 forward is tied for second in assists (6.3) and is third in steals (2.7) and blocks (2.7).

"She doesn't have to score to play a key role on her team," Douglas said of Parker.

Lisa Leslie - the longtime face of the Sparks (2-1) - led them on Thursday with 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds. After taking 2007 off following the birth of a child, Leslie is second in the league with 10.3 rebounds and first with 4.7 blocks.

The Sparks close out their road trip on Tuesday in Chicago. Parker played high school ball in suburban Naperville, Ill.

Washington (2-2), meanwhile, is looking to go undefeated on its three-game homestand. On Tuesday, Alana Beard scored 19 of her 25 points in the second half and Taj McWilliams-Franklin added 19 and nine rebounds in an 80-74 win over expansion Atlanta.

The Mystics are last in the league in scoring at 65.5 points per game with Beard and McWilliams-Franklin accounting for most of the offense. Beard averages 20.3 points while McWilliams-Franklin adds 15.0 and a team-leading 9.3 rebounds.

After this contest, Washington will play three straight and five of its next six away from home.

The Mystics and Sparks split their two-game season series last year with each team winning on the road.

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