LOS ANGELES — Candace Parker became the first player in WNBA history to record three career triple-doubles, and she did it at home in three quarters.
Crypto.com Arena is not her home court anymore, but Los Angeles will always be home to Parker.
Her 10 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists led the Sky to an 82-59 victory against the Sparks. It was the Sky’s first victory against the Sparks since Parker signed with the team in 2021.
“I love being a playmaker,” Parker said. “The game is changing, and I think we’re going to see this very soon on a nightly basis. I don’t know how long I’m going to hold on to this, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to play on a team where we can spread the wealth.”
Walking past the Sparks’ locker room and into the visitors’ for the first time in her career could only be described with one word — weird. Parker’s teammates asked her where she usually sat in the locker room, but she had never been in the visitors’ before.
Parker’s last exit from Crypto was in 2019. The following season was played in the WNBA bubble in Bradenton, Florida, and the next year she signed with the Sky in free agency.
Last season, Parker was sidelined with an ankle injury for all three of the Sky’s games against her former team. Their single road game against the Sparks was played at the LA Convention Center.
Parker’s second career triple-double came on May 22 against the Washington Mystics, making her the first player in the WNBA to record multiple triple-doubles in one season. Her first was in 2017.
She passed Tamika Catchings for the eighth spot on the WNBA’s all-time assist list (1,495) and her two blocks moved her to fifth on the league’s all-time blocks list (588), passing Lauren Jackson. After the game, Parker stopped to take photos and sign shoes and old Sparks jerseys for fans who lined the Sky’s tunnel.
“This is where I love coming back to,” Parker said. “It’s a family thing. It was amazing to have my kids on the court and see some of the fans that have watched me grow up.”
The Sky looked confident from the moment the ball was tipped and had a commanding 17-point lead by the second quarter. They led by as many as 33 points Thursday night.
Five players finished scoring in double figures en route to their second-largest win margin of the season. Courtney Vandersloot and Azurá Stevens led the Sky scoring 15 points each. Emma Meesseman added 11 points and Kahleah Copper had eight points and seven rebounds.
Rebekah Gardner, who grew up 45 minutes from Crypto and played at UCLA, had 40 friends and family in attendance. Gardner finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and two steals.
After dropping the first game of their three-game road trip to the Indiana Fever, the Sky regrouped using lessons from last year.
The most important is keeping their emotions even.
“We’re seasoned, I won’t say old,” Parker said. “You can’t ever get too high and you can’t ever get too low. As long as we control our emotions we’re able to be in every game.”