Retirement may have been on Candace Parker’s mind before this season, but on the court she is showing no signs of being done.
Parker on Sunday became the third player in W.N.B.A. history to record multiple triple-doubles in a career, finishing with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in the Chicago Sky’s 82-73 win over the Washington Mystics. At 36 years 33 days old, Parker is the oldest player to record a triple-double in the league.
She completed the triple-double in the final minute with an assist to Courtney Vandersloot, who last year joined Sheryl Swoopes as the only player in league history with more than one triple-double. Vandersloot’s effort, only the second postseason triple-double in W.N.B.A. history — Swoopes had the first — helped Chicago beat top-seeded Connecticut in a semifinal series.
“She was adamant about me getting my 10th assist,” Parker said of Vandersloot in her postgame news conference. “So you know that’s why I love this group. You know, I think we play for another, we get hype for others’ successes and we celebrate it, and I think that’s huge.”
Parker nearly went out as a champion last year. After playing 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks, she returned to her home state and helped deliver a W.N.B.A. title to the Sky. But her daughter, Lailaa, persuaded her to play in 2022, Parker said in an interview with Kristen Ledlow on NBA TV’s “WNBA Weekly.” Through five games, Parker is averaging 14 points and 8 rebounds and shooting 49.1 percent from the field.
Parker’s feat Sunday is all the more impressive given the scarcity of triple-doubles in W.N.B.A. history: Sunday was the 11th in the league’s 26 seasons. The Liberty’s Sabrina Ionescu became the youngest player to record a triple-double last season.
With two college national titles at Tennessee, two Olympic gold medals and two W.N.B.A. titles, Parker has won at every level, and her Chicago team looks poised to contend again this year. The Sky retained much of last year’s roster, including Kahleah Copper, the 2021 finals most valuable player who made her season debut Sunday, and they added Emma Meesseman, who won finals M.V.P. in 2019 with Washington.
Chicago prevailed Sunday in a matchup featuring two Most Valuable Player Award winners: Parker (2008 and 2013) and Washington’s Elena Delle Donne (2015 and 2019). Delle Donne finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Six Chicago players, including Copper and Meesseman, finished in double figures.