Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker opens up about winning consecutive NCAA championships with Tennesee and explains how Pat Summitt prepared her for the WNBA.
In the midst of the clamor surrounding the WNBA Finals, Candace Parker still hears Pat Summitt’s voice.
“I hear her all the time,” the former Tennessee Lady Vol star said of the UT women’s basketball coaching legend.
Parker literally can read Summitt’s influence as well. On Parker’s right arm, there’s a tattoo of her former coach’s iconic advice: “Left foot, right foot, breathe.”
“I think of her impact, what she believed, what she instilled in me,” Parker said Thursday in advance of Game 3 between Parker and the defending champion Los Angeles Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx.
Right now, one bit of Summitt’s wisdom rises above the rest.
“You can’t get too high with winning or too low with losing,” Parker said.
The first two games of the series were decided in the final seconds. Chelsea Gray hit a game-winning jumper for Los Angeles in Game 1. The Sparks committed a turnover with a chance to tie in Game 2, enabling Minnesota to even the series.
The compelling drama between the two teams is raising the professional league’s overall visibility. The series’ opener drew an overnight rating of 0.6, the best for a Game 1 on the ESPN networks. It was a 20 percent increase over last year’s opening game of the Finals.
Two of the top 5 markets were Nashville, which was first at 4.6, and Knoxville, which was fifth at 1.1.
Parker said league president Lisa Borders informed her of the TV ratings for the two Tennessee markets.
“I think it’s so special,” Parker said. “My journey has taken me out West but my home…