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Candace Parker has been on fire since returning from the Olympic break, leading the Sparks to a 3-0 record.
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
NEW YORK, Sept. 2, 2008 - Jia Perkins of the Chicago Sky and Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks were named the WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Thursday, Aug. 28 through Sunday, Aug. 31. WNBA games resumed on Aug. 28 after halting play for the Olympics.
Perkins collects her second-career Player of the Week award and first of the season on the heels of a week in which she averaged 20.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals on 53.3 percent shooting (24-45) from the field. Chicago resumed play with three consecutive wins over Eastern Conference foes New York, Washington and Detroit. With the wins, the Sky moved into fifth place in the East and two games behind Indiana for the conference's fourth and final playoff spot with six games remaining.
Perkins highlighted her week with 28 points, five rebounds and three steals in the team's 79-75 win at Washington. She scored 20 of her points in the second half and led the team in scoring for the game. She also paced the Sky in the first game back from the break when she poured in 19 points on the road at New York. The Liberty trailed by only two points with 3:12 left in the game when Perkins hit a jumper and converted the three-point play to seal the game for the Sky, who won 69-60.
Originally drafted by the Charlotte Sting with the 35th overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft, she was selected by Chicago in the 2005 Expansion Draft. This season, she is averaging 17.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.9 steals. Her scoring average not only marks a career best but also doubles her career average entering the season (8.5 ppg).
Parker earns her first-career Player of the Week award after averaging 18.0 points, a league-best 12.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks on 53.8 percent shooting (14-26) from the floor. She pushed the Sparks to a 2-0 record on the week with wins over Sacramento and first-place San Antonio. On the week, Los Angeles gained a game on both San Antonio and Seattle and now sits 1.5 games behind the Silver Stars for the top spot in the Western Conference.
Parker led the Sparks in scoring and rebounds against the Monarchs with 19 points and nine rebounds while adding five blocks in her first game back. Two days later, she posted a double-double against the Silver Stars when she tallied 17 points and hauled in 15 rebounds. Against Sacramento, Parker scored eight points during a 16-0 run late in the third quarter which the Sparks used to pull away for good.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft, she is averaging 18.9 points,
9.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.2 blocks on the season. She currently leads
all rookies in points and rebounds and is tied for the rookie lead in assists
with teammate Shannon Bobbitt. Parker also ranks among top 10 league leaders
in rebounds per game (first), blocks per game (second), minutes player (second),
points per game (fifth) and field goal percentage (sixth). With an Olympic gold
medal and NCAA Championship already under her belt in 2008, she is looking to
become the first woman to ever win the Olympic gold medal, NCAA title and WNBA
Championship in the same year. As a part of most-heralded rookie class in WNBA
history, Parker has also won two Hanns-G 'Go Beyond' Rookie of the Month awards
(May and July) this season.
Other candidates for WNBA Players of the Week were Connecticut's Tamika Whitmore, Detroit's Katie Smith, Minnesota's Candice Wiggins, Phoenix's Diana Taurasi, Sacramento's Nicole Powell, San Antonio's Becky Hammon, Seattle's Sue Bird and Washington's Alana Beard.
About the WNBA
Comprised of 14 teams and entering its 12th season, the WNBA is the most successful women's professional team sports league in the world. The 2008 season tipped off May 17 with ESPN2 again providing appointment viewing in the form of its "WNBA Tuesdays" telecasts. During the 2008 season, combined coverage on ABC and ESPN2 will include 21 national telecasts, while NBA TV, the league's 24-hour television network, will offer 70 regular-season contests.
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improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs
that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and
women's health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on
education. For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.