UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Candace Parker had a blast in her All-Star debut.
Parker earned MVP honors after scoring a record 23 points and leading the West to a 102-98 win over the East on Saturday.
The Los Angeles Sparks star was voted a starter for the 2011 game, but she couldn’t play because of a knee injury. This time, she put on a show.
Brittney Griner and top vote-getter Elena Delle Donne sat out because of injuries, but there was plenty of talent on display in a game that featured a ref cam and in-huddle mics.
Despite joking before the game that she was “too old” to dunk, Parker threw down a few in warmups.
After a quiet first half, she helped rally the West after the break. With her team trailing by 11 early in the third quarter, Parker scored seven straight points. After a foul by Tamika Catchings, Parker flexed her muscles and used a nifty stutter-step from the wing for an easy layup. Parker finished off her run with another lay-in.
Parker, who finished with 11 rebounds, and Sparks teammate Kristi Toliver wouldn’t let the West lose for the fourth time in the past five All-Star games. Parker broke Swin Cash’s All-Star game record of 22 points with a layup midway through the fourth quarter.
Trailing 100-98 with 30 seconds left, the East had a chance to take the lead, but Cappie Pondexter missed a 3-pointer. Parker got the rebound and Toliver sealed the win by hitting two free throws.
Toliver finished with 21 points. Epiphanny Prince and Ivory Latta scored 15 points each to lead the East.