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Sparks hope to give Parker successful homecoming vs. Sky

The Los Angeles Sparks will go for their fourth win in a row when they visit the Chicago Sky on Sunday afternoon at Wintrust Arena near downtown Chicago.

At 7-2, Los Angeles sits atop the WNBA standings. The Sparks boast an impressive 3-1 record on the road and recently scored a season-high 97 points in an 11-point win over the Washington Mystics on Friday

Another scoring outburst could be in store for the Sparks, who have four players averaging in double digits.

Veteran forward Candace Parker leads the way with 16.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. The Windy City visit carries special meaning for the 32-year-old, who shined as a high school player in the Chicago suburb of Naperville.

"It's a lot of fun to go home," Parker told ESPN two years ago during a trip to play the Sky. "Some really talented basketball players have come out of Chicago, and it was very competitive for me growing up."

The Sparks also have plenty of scoring support from Nneka Ogwumike (16.7 points, team-high 7.2 rebounds per game), Chelsea Gray (15.0) and Odyssey Sims (13.1). Complementary players such as Essence Carson (7.2) and Riquna Williams (5.9) also have made an impact as Los Angeles chases its second WNBA championship in the past three years.

Meanwhile, Chicago (3-6) started strong but has tailed off in recent weeks. A win over Los Angeles would give the Sky a statement victory on their new home court and rejuvenate the squad for the second half of June and beyond.

The Sky have lost three straight games, all by double digits, including last Sunday's 77-59 loss in Los Angeles when they shot 28 percent. But Chicago is 2-2 on its home court, where it earned its most recent victory June 3 with a 95-90 victory over the Las Vegas Aces.

Allie Quigley leads the Sky with 16.1 points per game. She is followed by rookie Diamond DeShields, who has posted 13.7 points and 5.1 boards on average. DeShields notched her second 20-point game and made five 3-pointers for a career high in Tuesday's 96-85 loss against the Seattle Storm.

Cheyenne Parker also will try to maintain her good play off the bench. She posted 10 points and 10 rebounds against Seattle for her third double-double of the season.

Sky coach Amber Stocks remains confident in her team despite a recent skid.

"We really have a unique situation in that we have several specialty players," Stocks told reporters in comments published by the Chicago Sun-Times. "One thing that this road trip taught us was, first and foremost, stay together. We're more powerful together than we are individually."
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