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Two-time WNBA MVP out indefinitely for Aces with foot injury

Updated July 25, 2023 - 9:39 am

The Aces are a better team when Candace Parker is healthy.

Some of the things the two-time MVP does, such as breaking down plays during huddles, leading fast breaks and communicating with teammates, won’t show up in a box score.

But the Aces will be without their starting forward for the foreseeable future.

Parker, averaging 9.0 points and 5.4 rebounds, underwent successful surgery for a fracture in her foot Monday and has been ruled out indefinitely, the team announced. She had been playing on the injured foot for the entire season and had missed the past five games.

“She’s definitely going to be missed a lot,” forward A’ja Wilson said last week. “We’ve got to step up.”

Wilson and her teammates have lived up to those words, winning all five games without Parker.

The Aces continue their Midwest road trip Tuesday when they play the Chicago Sky at Wintrust Arena. The game should have marked Parker’s return home.

It would have been her first game in Chicago since joining the Aces (21-2) in free agency. Parker grew up in a suburb 45 minutes west of Chicago and led the Sky (9-13) to their first championship two years ago.

Statistically, the Aces are playing even better than they were with the 16-year veteran in the lineup.

It’s important to note the Aces have played the Minnesota Lynx twice, the Phoenix Mercury, the Los Angeles Sparks and the Seattle Storm — all teams with losing records — during the five-game stretch. Combined, they have a 27-62 record.

But the Aces have no control over that. During their five-game winning streak, they have gone from 92.6 to 97.0 points per game. They’re shooting 52.2 percent overall and 38.5 percent on 3-pointers, both improvements from their stats through the first 18 games.

Their offensive rating, or the number of points a team would score with 100 possessions, has risen from 112.7 to 118.9 in the five games.

The Aces’ defensive rating, the number of points a team allowed per 100 possessions, also has improved, from 95.1 to 93.9.

They also are holding teams to lower points per game averages and a worse 3-point percentage.

Wilson and Kelsey Plum have stepped up in particular. Wilson is averaging 23.6 points on 69.1 percent shooting in the five games. She’s also averaging 11.8 rebounds during that stretch, and her 9.8 rebounds per game lead the WNBA.

Plum’s scoring has also gone up without Parker. The guard is averaging 22.8 points on 56.2 percent shooting in the five games, and 42.4 percent on 3s.

Wilson (20.5), guard Jackie Young (19.2) and Plum (19.0) are on pace to become the first trio of teammates to average more than 18 points in a season. All three rank among the league’s top-10 scorers.

“Those are my sisters,” Wilson said. “I wouldn’t want to go to war with anyone else.”

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Contact reporter Andy Yamashita at ayamashita@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ANYamashita on Twitter.

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