The Los Angeles Sparks have two reasons to celebrate, even after being eliminated from the playoffs by the San Antonio Stars. Their rookie wunderkind Candace Parker will take home Rookie of the Year honors, along with the coveted league MVP award. Parker impressed MVP voters with her all-around skill, placing in the top five statistical ranks for scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage and blocked shots.
Parker led the rookies in scoring (18.5 ppg), rebounding (9.5 rpg), blocks (2.3 bpg) and minutes (33.6 mpg). She received all 45 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters in results announced on Friday.
Preceding tip-off in San Antonio, Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker will receive the league’s most valuable player award, the Los Angeles Times reported. Parker would become the first WNBA player to win MVP and the rookie of the year award in the same season.
The Times reported on its Web site late Thursday that Parker would be named MVP.
“It would mean a lot to me, playing in that highest level and actually winning the MVP award,” Parker told the Times.
Parker is one of only five professional athletes (and only three basketball players) to win both awards. Her unanimous choice for the WNBA All-Rookie First Team caps a season of accolades for the new star. She also helped the U.S. Women’s Olympic Basketball Team to yet another Gold medal at the Beijing Games. It was their fourth straight medal in the Olympic contests.