Candace Parker to return to Los Angeles Sparks on July 29

July 21, 2015

After missing a significant portion of the season to rest her body, Los Angeles Sparks star forward/center Candace Parker will join the team after the WNBA All-Star weekend, it was announced by general manager Penny Toler.

“We are happy to have a healthy and well-rested Candace Parker back with the Sparks,” said Penny Toler.  “Her wish was to rest and prepare her body to compete this season. Now that she’s ready, we look forward to her joining her teammates and helping us spark our second half push.”

Prior to the 2015 WNBA season, Parker announced she would miss an undetermined number of games in order to be 100% healthy before joining the team.

Without Parker in the lineup, the Sparks have struggled tremendously, lingering at the bottom of the Western Conference for much of the season.

Parker will play her first game on July 29 in Minnesota to tip-off a three-game road trip against the Lynx, Chicago Sky  (7/31), and San Antonio Stars (8/2).  Her first home game will be August 4 versus Minnesota at STAPLES Center on ESPN2.

“We are excited that Candace will join our team after the All-Star game,” said Sparks head coach Brian Agler. “Candace has been an influential part of the Sparks ‎for several years and a big part of its success. She as been an All-Star and an MVP, and we are sure she will influence great play by the Sparks in the future.”

Parker has played her entire seven-year career in Los Angeles.  The #1 pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft, she became the first WNBA player to win both the MVP and Rookie of the Year award in the same season.  A two-time WNBA MVP (2008,2013), three-time WNBA All-Star (2011,2013,2014), including 2013 All-Star MVP, and a three-time All-WNBA First Team selection (2012,2013,2014), Parker has two Olympic Gold medals as a member of Team USA (2008, 2012).

Through 179 career games (176 starts), she holds averages of 17.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 32.0 minutes.  Last season, she led the Sparks in scoring (19.4 ppg), assists (4.3 apg) and tied for second in rebounds, averaging 7.1 per game.

Sparks sign first round pick

In other news, the Sparks announced the signing Crystal Bradford, the team’s first round selection in the 2015 WNBA Draft.

"We are excited to get Crystal on the court,” said Sparks head coach Brian Agler.  “She has tremendous basketball instincts and the ability to score and rebound.  I’m looking forward to seeing her growth and development.”

The seventh overall pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft, Bradford finished her four-year career at Central Michigan ranked atop the school’s record books in four categories: scoring (2,006), rebounding (1,140), made field goals (805) and blocked shots (177).  The only player in history to score 2,000 career points, she also finished her career ranked third in steals (278) and fourth in assists (384).

Bradford averaged 19.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals in 22 games played as a senior (2014-15).  She finished the year named an All-MAC Second Team selection, WBCA Region 4 All-American nominee and named the women’s basketball High-Major Player of the Year.

The 2014 MAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, Bradford set CMU single-season records with 588 points and 226 field goals and became just the second player in program history to score 20-plus points per game during her junior season. She also led the Chippewas with 354 rebounds, the second most in program history. As a junior, she led the MAC in rebounds per game (12.2 rpg), steals per game (2.66 spg) and double-doubles (22) and became the first player in school and conference history with multiple triple doubles in a season (2).

By Staff of and news services

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