The Talented Ms. Parker Adds To Her Resume

By Richard Kent
Updated: January 8, 2007

HARTFORD, Ct. — It was just another typical day at the office for Tennessee’s Candace Parker. 40 minutes of play, 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting, 12 rebounds, four assists and six blocked shots.

That’s what Ms. Parker did Saturday in the Lady Vols 70-64 win over UConn at the Hartford Civic Center. Oh, and one more thing, the nation’s best player had a dunk in the second half. The first one in the history of the Tennessee-UConn rivalry.

UConn head coach Geno Auriemma of UConn compared her to former USC star and current TNT analyst Cheryl Miller at the end of the game.

He also predicted well before the game that Parker would score 30 points, saying there is little way to stop her and acknowledging that the only way to beat Tennessee is to stop the rest of the team.

It almost worked as UConn came back from a 19-point deficit to tie Tennessee at 53. But the Lady Vols were strong enough to pull away at the end of the game.

Tennessee is now 14-1 and UConn is 12-1.Tennessee fell to North Carolina earlier in the year and is currently ranked fourth in the country.

As for Parker. the sophomore from Illinois was perhaps the most decorated high school player of all time. She was a two time USA Today Player of the Year and led her high school team to a 95-4 mark.

As a freshman at Tennessee, Parker was a Kodak All-American. She started every game last season and led the Lady Vols in scoring 18 times (including a season high 34 against Florida) and rebounding 22 times.

She also became the first women to ever dunk in an NCAA Tournament game last season against Navy. The 6-foot-2 Parker has five dunks in her short career.

Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt felt that playing on the USA Women’s Senior National Team this past summer really served as a maturation process for Parker.

She was the youngest member of the team since 1994 and she led the team in scoring en route to a bronze medal in Brazil. The Olympics are next for her on the international stage.

Parker is a sports management major and she lists former Lady Vol Tamika Catchings as her role model. She hopes to one day become a television announcer.

That certainly won’t happen until she finishes college, probably after she leads Tennessee to at least one National Championship and has a WNBA career.

Right now it looks like Tennessee, Duke, North Carolina and Maryland are the four best women’s teams in the country. There are different reasons for this analysis as it relates to each team.

But with respect to Tennessee, it’s all about Parker as it should be.