Candace Parker leads Sky to 82-73 victory against Mystics with historic triple-double performance

Sky star Candace Parker hasn’t said definitively what her future holds, but retirement is on the table.

After her triple-double performance in the visiting Sky’s 82-73 victory Sunday against the Mystics, it’s hard to understand how she could consider hanging it up.

Parker had 16 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists with less than a minute left when teammate Courtney Vandersloot mentioned that history was there for the taking and called the play.

‘‘Pass it to me, and I’ll finish it,’’ Vandersloot told Parker.

After dishing a pass to Parker at the elbow, curling off her and cutting to the basket, Parker passed it back to Vandersloot who made a layup to help her become the third player in WNBA history to notch multiple triple-doubles. Parker is the only player in league history with two regular-season triple-doubles. Her first was in 2017, when she finished with 11 points, 17 rebounds and 11 assists for the Sparks against the Aces.

Vandersloot, who finished with four points, six assists and five rebounds, is also on that list, along with Sheryl Swoopes.

‘‘To be in the company with ‘Sloot,’ who does it on a regular basis and will probably end her career leading the league in assists, and Sheryl Swoopes, who I grew up watching and idolizing, I’m humbled by it,’’ Parker said. ‘‘I realize that there are more that are coming behind me. I hope that coaches are watching, that the point forward is where it’s at.’’

When Sky general manager/coach James Wade put together his 2022 roster, he said he knew he had 11 WNBA players. What he meant is that he has an entire roster of players he can depend on.

That was evident Sunday, as the Sky’s bench outscored the Mystics’ 29-11.

‘‘I have a lot of fun coaching this team,’’ Wade said. ‘‘They sacrifice without a problem. Our coaching staff does a great job of making sure everyone feels important. It’s not a big deal for us who is starting and who’s not.’’

The game was 2021 Finals MVP Kahleah Copper’s first of the season after returning last week from playing overseas in Spain. She got her first basket in familiar fashion, leaping for a defensive rebound before sprinting downcourt for a pull-up in transition.

Copper’s first bucket was an indication of how she can affect the Sky with her ability to push the tempo and run in transition. Without her, the Sky were last in the league in pace and eighth in transition points. She finished with 12 points, four rebounds and an assist.

The Sky committed 11 turnovers in the first half and finished with 15. Their ball movement was cleaner in the second half, which led to them finding their offensive rhythm. They also outrebounded the Mystics 37-29.

Ariel Atkins scored 20 points and Elena Delle Donne 17 to lead the Mystics. Rookie Shakira Austin scored 12 points in the first half, but the Sky limited her to two in the second.

‘‘Having Kah back in the lineup, allowing us to move back to our natural positions, definitely helps us on the defensive end,’’ Parker said.

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