Teams will do just about anything in search of a championship, no matter the sport.
But benching one of your star players? That’s a bold move.
Sparks first-year head coach Derek Fisher benched WNBA All-Star Candace Parker midway through the third quarter of Los Angeles’ Game 3 loss to the Connecticut Sun, who swept the best-of-five series in dramatic fashion. Parker appeared noticeably frustrated while on the bench (which you can check out here) and told reporters after the game that she was both physically and mentally “fine.”
When asked if she was surprised she didn’t play more, Parker said, “That’s for Fish,” per The Winsidr’s John Davis.
So, they presented Fisher with the same question. And he was candid with his response.
“(I) was just trying to do as much as I could in the moment to … help the team,” Fisher said at Sunday’s postgame press conference, per The Athletic’s Brady Klopfer. “… It wasn’t an injury or any specific ‘This is why I’m not going to play Candace,’ but just trying to find energy, find a spark, find physicality and things that we just were continuing to search for throughout the course of the game.
“We’ve had an issue sustaining energy over 40 minutes against (the Sun) in the series, so also just trying to get fresh bodies in so we can continue to bang and rebound and run the floor, communicate defensively. So it wasn’t in any way to single her out … I know it’s Candace Parker and we’re going to try and make it about her 11 minutes, but it was just about trying to do something different that I thought would try and help us win.”
For now, the Sparks will have to wait until May 2020 to start another championship campaign.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports Images