WNBA Star Candace Parker Becomes First Woman to Cover NBA 2K: I’m ‘Extremely Proud and Humbled’, STATED MRS. PARKER. AND IT DOESN’T HURT THAT CANDACE IS A “Intellectually SOUND BEAUTY QUEEN”

WNBA Star Candace Parker Becomes First Woman to Cover NBA 2K:  I’m ‘Extremely Proud and Humbled’, STATED MRS. PARKER.   AND IT DOESN’T HURT THAT CANDACE IS A “Intellectually SOUND BEAUTY QUEEN”

 

Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty
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Candace Parker is making sports video game history.On Wednesday, 2K Sports announced that the 35-year-old basketball player will grace the NBA 2K22 cover for the WNBA 25th anniversary special edition, making her the first female cover athlete in the franchise’s history.Set to be released on Sept. 10, Parker joins Luka Dončić — who was named the cover athlete for the standard edition — and Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who will star on the cover for the NBA 75th anniversary edition.”Extremely proud and humbled to be the first female cover athlete in the history of @NBA2K,” Parker wrote on Twitter. “I’m honored to work with a company that’s investing in women and betting on us to succeed. I’m hopeful there will be many more badass females to follow.”The Chicago Sky player joins a small selection of female athletes who have been tapped for the covers of sports games over the years, including Shawn Johnson on a Gymnastics by Wii game, according to ESPN.

Speaking with ESPN, Parker — a self-described “video game fanatic” — said the news of her cover is a dream come true.

“As a kid growing up, you dream of having your own shoe and dream of being in a video game. Those are an athlete as a kid’s dreams. To be able to experience that, I don’t take it lightly,” she told the outlet.

The sports star also said that she understands there were an array of other players who could have been chosen to be the first to cover the game.

“It means a lot to me. I’m a fan of basketball. I eat, sleep and breathe basketball. I’m a historian within basketball. I am a fan of basketball. I commentate basketball. I play video games,” the former MVP said. “It was really the perfect storm because there are a lot of other people well-deserving of this, and I know that.”

"I'm honored to work with a company that's investing in women and betting on us to succeed," Candace Parker said
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 “I’m honored to work with a company that’s investing in women and betting on us to succeed,” Candace Parker said All three versions of the forthcoming video game are planned to be released on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch and PC, per Fox News. The WNBA 25th anniversary special edition is available for pre-order now.

In an interview earlier this year, Parker told PEOPLE she was proud to be just one of an entire generation of WNBA athletes who are making “strides forward” in ensuring the league is taken seriously on the court – and off.

“We’ve gone from a couple of athletes speaking out to now, an entire league shutting down and demanding change,” she told PEOPLE.

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During her appearance on The Daily Show Monday, the Chicago Sky player, 35, was asked to think of three improvements that she’d make if she were in charge of the league for 24 hours

Candace Parker
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Candace Parker

If Candace Parker were commissioner of the WNBA for a day, she’d make a few changes.

During a Monday night appearance on The Daily Show, the Chicago Sky player, 35, was asked to think of three improvements that she’d make if she were in charge of the league for 24 hours.

It didn’t take long for her to come up with some ideas. First and foremost? Update the league’s rules about traveling on the court.

“The NBA travels,” she pointed out to host Trevor Noah. “I would allow the WNBA to have the same rules as the NBA within traveling, because I feel like we make a bomb move and it’s a travel, but in the NBA you’ve got Giannis [Antetokounmpo] taking 97 steps and everyone is like ‘Wow that’s amazing!’ “

She laughed, “It is amazing, but … can we get similar rules? I’m not saying NBA can’t travel, I’m saying just let the WNBA travel.”

Parker also said she wouldn’t mind if there were times where the league could take it easy on the older players.

Her second idea is to “occasionally have it be half-court for the older players,” she joked, earning a laugh from Noah. “Like, ‘All right, you’re not feeling the greatest today? We’re just gonna go straight half court today.’ “

Parker’s last idea is one that Noah was convinced could become “the next trillion dollar franchise.”

“We need to solve this era debate, because everybody thinks their era is the best era in sports,” she explained.

Time travel, Parker elaborated, is the only way to really determine if Charles Barkley could hold Steph Curry at the three-point line or settle the debate about who would win in a LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan matchup.

“So somehow we need to develop a time machine so that these eras can compete against each other,” she said.

Candace Parker
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Candace Parker

Last month, Parker told PEOPLE she’s proud to use her voice as part of an entire generation of WNBA athletes making “strides forward” to ensure the league is taken seriously on the court – and off.

“I think the WNBA as a whole is utilizing its platform to be in the communities and push for change,” she said, adding “We’ve gone from a couple of athletes speaking out to now, an entire league shutting down and demanding change.”

“I think we understand that we would be doing a disservice if we didn’t represent those people that we’re speaking for in a positive way, and demand change,” she says.

“I’m honored to work with a company that’s investing in women and betting on us to succeed,” Candace Parker said

Candace Parker is making sports video game history.

On Wednesday, 2K Sports announced that the 35-year-old basketball player will grace the NBA 2K22 cover for the WNBA 25th anniversary special edition, making her the first female cover athlete in the franchise’s history.

Set to be released on Sept. 10, Parker joins Luka Dončić — who was named the cover athlete for the standard edition — and Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who will star on the cover for the NBA 75th anniversary edition.

“Extremely proud and humbled to be the first female cover athlete in the history of @NBA2K,” Parker wrote on Twitter. “I’m honored to work with a company that’s investing in women and betting on us to succeed. I’m hopeful there will be many more badass females to follow.”

The Chicago Sky player joins a small selection of female athletes who have been tapped for the covers of sports games over the years, including Shawn Johnson on a Gymnastics by Wii game, according to ESPN.

Speaking with ESPN, Parker — a self-described “video game fanatic” — said the news of her cover is a dream come true.

“As a kid growing up, you dream of having your own shoe and dream of being in a video game. Those are an athlete as a kid’s dreams. To be able to experience that, I don’t take it lightly,” she told the outlet.

The sports star also said that she understands there were an array of other players who could have been chosen to be the first to cover the game.

“It means a lot to me. I’m a fan of basketball. I eat, sleep and breathe basketball. I’m a historian within basketball. I am a fan of basketball. I commentate basketball. I play video games,” the former MVP said. “It was really the perfect storm because there are a lot of other people well-deserving of this, and I know that.”

In an interview earlier this year, Parker told PEOPLE she was proud to be just one of an entire generation of WNBA athletes who are making “strides forward” in ensuring the league is taken seriously on the court – and off.

“We’ve gone from a couple of athletes speaking out to now, an entire league shutting down and demanding change,” she told PEOPLE.

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About

Candace Nicole Parker

Born on April 19, 1986, Candace Nicole Parker is one of the most decorated female basketball players to ever put on a uniform. As the youngest of Larry and Sara Parker’s three children, Candace grew up under her two older brothers, Marcus and former NBA player Anthony, and fell in love with the game of basketball at an early age. Candace, who was the first overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft, is more than just a star on the court, she is an inspiration to all those around her. A WNBA Champion, WNBA Finals MVP, 2x WNBA MVP, 2x Gold Medalist, and WNBA Rookie of the Year are just a few of Candace’s many accomplishments throughout her career on the court. Off the court, Candace’s list extends just as long, ranging from being a mother to 8-year-old daughter Lailaa, to a renowned broadcaster, and inspiring role model for young women everywhere.

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Early Years

A Young Star/Rising Star

A native of Naperville, Illinois, it was clear that Candace was destined for great things on the court at an early age. As a 15-year-old sophomore, Candace became a national sensation at Naperville Central High School, leading her team to back to back state championships in 2003 and 2004. Chosen twice, back to back, as both the Naismith and Gatorade Prep Player of the Year, Candace took her accomplishments one step further when she won the slam dunk contest at the 2004 McDonald’s All American Game, becoming the first female to ever win the event, and beating out multiple future NBA stars, including J.R. Smith, Rudy Gay and Josh Smith. After leading her high school team to back-to back Class AA state titles, becoming the first female in the state of Illinois to dunk a basketball in a game, Candace decided to take the next step of her basketball career by committing to the University of Tennessee.

FIBA/USA Basketball

Team USA/International/Around The World

Candace’s international basketball presence spreads far and wide across the globe. As a member of Team USA, Candace’s career dates back to 2004, when Candace was a member of the USA Women’s U18 team which won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championship. When selected to the USA Women’s Senior National team in September 2006, Candace became the youngest member of the team since 1994 and helped lead Team USA to a bronze medal in Brazil at the World Championships, where she set a new American record for blocks in a tournament (14). In September 2007, Candace led the USA Women’s Senior National team to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championship and earned them an automatic ticket into the 2008 Olympic Summer Games.

In 2008, Candace led Team USA to a gold medal during the Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China, and scored 14 points in the gold medal match against Australia, helping the U.S. Women’s basketball team capture their fourth straight Olympic gold medal. However, her Olympic glory did not end there. She went on to join the team at the 2012 London Olympics, helping lead Team USA to victory once again, clinching the gold medal against France and leading the team both in points (21) and rebounds (11).

Aside from Candace’s Team USA glory, her international career expands far beyond the Olympic podium. During each WNBA off- season from 2010 to 2015, Candace traveled across the world to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg of the Russian league, where she won five consecutive championships with the international club. In December 2017, Candace signed with the Xinjiang Tiashan Deers Chinese franchise for the 2017-2018 off-season.

Professional

WNBA

On April 9th, 2008, Candace Parker was selected as the 1st overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks. In her first season in the WNBA, Candace immediately left her mark in history by recording the best rookie debut the league had ever seen in a victory against the defending champs, the Phoenix Mercury, where Candace recorded 34 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists. Candace went on to finish her first year leading the WNBA in rebounds and double- doubles, became the second player to dunk in a WNBA game, and became the first player in league history to dunk in multiple games. At the end of the season, Candace earned both the 2008 WNBA MVP award and the league’s Rookie of the Year award, and she is still the only player in WNBA history to have won the league’s MVP award as a rookie.

In 2009, Candace began one of her most inspirational seasons of her entire career. At the beginning of the season, Candace gave birth to her daughter, Lailaa Nicole Williams, in May of 2009. Despite those who doubted her, she was able to juggle the birth of being a new mom and the rigorous schedule of WNBA play, and continued to play throughout the season, despite missing eight games after giving birth. However, it is no surprise that Candace finished the 2009 season as the WNBA’s leader in rebounds, and once again, as the WNBA leader in double- doubles.

In 2010, Candace began her third season in the WNBA, where she competed in the first 10 games, but missed the remainder after undergoing surgery on her left shoulder. She finished the season averaging 20.1 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1 steal per contest. Furthermore, Candace went on to miss much of the 2011 season due to a torn meniscus.

2012 marked the return of Candace Parker, where she averaged an impressive 17.4 points per game, 3.3 assists, and 30.7 minutes a game while leading the Sparks to the second seed in the West conference. She played the whole season, and led the league in blocks and defensive rebounds.

In 2013, Candace returned for her sixth season in the WNBA, where she earned her second MVP win. She finished the season averaging 17.9 points and 8.7 rebounds a game, and was a clear fan favorite when she received the second most fan votes to become a started in the All Star Game, where she was later named All Star MVP.

In 2014, Candace left an impressive mark, where she posted a team- high 19.4 points and 4.3 assists per game. She finished third in the league on the score charts, as well as landed her 5th All- WNBA selection.

In 2015, Candace announced that she would miss part of the season to rest. However, when she returned on July 29th, despite missing more than half of the regular season, she was determined to leave her mark. At the end of the 2015 season, Candace set a career high of 6.3 assists per game, ranking her 1st in the league. Furthermore, she averaged 19.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and a career high, 1.9 steals per game. Her astounding season performance earner her the Western Conference Player of the Month for August, and was named to the 2015 All-WNBA Second Team.

In 2016, Candace re-signed with Sparks, and led them to the WNBA finals where they faced the defending champions, the Minnesota Lynx. Candace led her team to a 77-76 Game 5 victory, and the Sparks claimed their first championship since 2002. As a result of her Game 5 performance, where Candace scored 28 points along with 12 rebounds, Candace finally won her first WNBA Championship and was awarded Finals MVP. In addition, she was named in the WNBA Top 20@20, a prestigious list of the league’s best 20 players in celebration of the WNBA’S twentieth anniversary.

In February 2017, Candace signed a multi- year contract with the Sparks, and was voted into the 2017 WNBA All- Star game for the 4th time. In July of 2017, Candace went on to become the sixth player in league history to record a triple- double in a win over the San Antonio Stars. Averaging 16.9 points per game, Candace led the Sparks to the WNBA Finals for the second consecutive season, where they would take on none other than the Minnesota Lynx. Despite a record breaking performance in Game 3, where Candace set the record for most steals in a Finals game (5) along with 13 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks, the Sparks would lose the next two games, and failed to win back-to-back championships, losing to the Lynx in five games.

Beyond the Court

A Young Star/Rising Star

Having already accomplished such an incredible lifetime of achievements on the court, it is nothing less than both inspiring and astonishing to relish in the world of Candace Parker’s life off the court as well. A devoted mother to 8-year-old daughter, Lailaa Nicole, with whom she resides in Los Angeles, CA, Candace aspires to strive for greatness in all aspects of her life, across multiple different avenues of the sports world. As a highly recognized and knowledgeable broadcaster, who has appeared on the SEC Network, the Pac-12 Network, Inside the NBA on TNT, SportsCenter and more, Candace continues to hone her crafts both on and off the court. Most recently, Candace joined Turner as the only female analyst during the 2018 Men’s NCAA March Madness Tournament. In addition to her broadcasting career, Candace continues to be a profound voice for generations that surround her, and devotes her time and energy to helping some of the most important causes of today’s world. She has been an advocate for PETA, Loaves & Fishes, the March of Dimes, D.A.R.E, the Ronald McDonald House, and No Kid Hungry. Also, Candace has been involved in both the Alzheimer’s Association and Pat Summitt Foundation in honor of her beloved Coach Pat Summitt. She was a voice for women at the first ever Glamour Women of the Year Live Summitt in 2016, and was once names to People Magazine’s “100 Most Beautiful People,” Candace has demonstrated, and continues to show the world her incredible ability to balance her life both on and off the court, while undoubtedly continuing to aspire for greatness in all aspects of the world around her.

Career Highlights

  • WNBA Champion (2016)
  • WNBA Finals MVP (2016)
  • 2x WNBA MVP (2008, 2013)
  • 4x WNBA All- Star (2011, 2013, 2014, 2017)
  • WNBA All- Star Game MVP (2013)
  • WNBA Rookie of the Year (2008)
  • WNBA All- Rookie Team (2008)
  • 5x All- WNBA First Team (2008, 2012-2014, 2017)
  • 2x All- WNBA Second Team (2009, 2015)
  • 2x WNBA All- Defensive Second Team (2009, 2012)
  • 2x WNBA rebounding leader (2008, 2009)
  • 2x WNBA peak performer (2008, 2009)
  • WNBA Top 20@20 (2016)
  • 5x Russian National League Champion (2011-2015)
  • 4x Russian Cup Winner (2011-2014)
  • EuroLeague Champion (2013)
  • AP Female Athlete of the Year (2008)
  • USBWA College Player of the Year (2007, 2008)
  • Naismith College Player of the Year (2008)
  • John R. Wooden Award (2007, 2008)
  • Wade Trophy (2007)
  • Honda Sports Award (2007, 2008)
  • Honda- Broderick Cup (2008)

“Today I know that there is still work to be done,
but along the way I am achieving my dreams.“

Candace Parker

Candace Parker
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Parker in 2017
No. 3 – Chicago Sky
Position Center / Power forward
League WNBA
Personal information
Born April 19, 1986 (age 35)
St. Louis, Missouri
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Listed weight 184 lb (83 kg)
Career information
High school Naperville Central
(Naperville, Illinois)
College Tennessee (2004–2008)
WNBA draft 2008 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Los Angeles Sparks
Playing career 2008–present
Career history
20082020 Los Angeles Sparks
2010–2015 UMMC Ekaterinburg
2016 Guangdong Dolphins
2017 Fenerbahçe Istanbul
2017–2018 Xinjiang Tianshan Deers
2021–present Chicago Sky
Career highlights and awards
Stats at WNBA.com
Medals
Women’s basketball
Representing
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United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place
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2008 Beijing Team competition
Gold medal – first place
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2012 London Team competition
U18 and U19
Gold medal – first place
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2004 U18 Mayagüez Team Competition

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Candace Nicole Parker (born April 19, 1986) is an American professional basketball player for the Chicago Sky of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). She was selected as the first overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks.

A versatile player, Parker mainly plays the forward and center position. In high school, Parker won the 2003 and 2004 Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year awards, becoming just the second junior and the only woman to receive the award twice. As a college player for Tennessee, she led the team two consecutive national championships (2007, 2008), was named the Final Four’s most outstanding player in both occasions, and was a two-time consensus national player of the year. As a redshirt freshman, she became the first woman to dunk in an NCAA tournament game and the first woman to dunk twice in a college game. After being selected in the WNBA Draft, Parker signed long-term endorsement deals with Adidas and Gatorade.

In 2016, Parker helped the Sparks to win their first WNBA Finals title since 2002. Parker has won two WNBA Most Valuable Player Awards (2008, 2013), a WNBA Finals MVP Award (2016), a WNBA All-Star Game MVP Award (2013), two Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012), and the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award (2008). She has been selected to six All-WNBA teams and five All-Star teams, and was the first player to win the Rookie of the Year and the WNBA Most Valuable Player Award in the same season. Parker became the second player to dunk in a WNBA game on June 22, 2008.

In 2019, Parker became an analyst for NBA games on TNT and NBA TV, having started covering Tuesday games during the 2019-20 NBA season.

WNBA star thriving in expanded analyst role at Turner Sports

It’s the WNBA offseason but Candace Parker is busier than ever.

When she’s not draining trifectas or blocking shots, the Los Angeles Sparks star spends her time examining and dissecting the game she loves as an analyst for Turner Sports.

Parker has become a rising star at the network and signed a multi-year deal last year to remain with Turner in an expanded analyst role.

She provides analysis and plays a key part in TNT’s NBA coverage telecasts on Tuesday nights alongside Adam Lefkoe, Shaquille O’Neal and Dwayne Wade. Parker will also remain involved in the network’s NCAA tournament coverage.

She said the opportunity to keep covering major events like March Madness — the tournament that catapulted her into the national spotlight — is one of the main reasons she returned to Turner despite receiving interest from ESPN.

“It’s really fun,” said Parker, who led Tennessee to two national championships. “It takes being removed from it and not being a player to understand the importance of it. More people watch the tournament than those who are interested in college basketball. It’s a great time to prove yourself as a player, but it’s fun for me covering it because every game means something.”

Parker, 33, said she’s gotten more comfortable being on air over the last couple years working alongside some former NBA stars that she grew up admiring. One of her duties with Turner includes being the co-host of a weekly podcast with NBA TV reporter Kristen Ledlow. Parker, one of the most decorated female basketball players of all-time, is honing her craft in broadcasting while she puts the final touches on her illustrious basketball career.

“Candace has always been one of those players that’s loved watching the game,” Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame finalist and former Tennessee star Tamika Catchings said. “She’s been very good at being observant and being able to communicate and talk about the game like [she’s] just hanging out. That’s what you do as an analyst, talking about some of the different things you see. I think the perspective from players, people actually appreciate it more, because they’ve experienced it.”

Parker has experienced more highs and lows than most who reach the WNBA, which all have shaped her into the person she is today. The Naperville, Ill., native says her biggest inspiration to keep going is her 10-year-old daughter, Lailaa. So the former MVP isn’t waiting until she retires to start building her legacy off the court and encourages other players in the league to think similarly with long-term goals.

“I think the biggest thing about being more than a basketball player is the people you surround yourself with,” Parker said. “If you notice people growing in their career or growing in their path, they’re not hanging out or messing around with stupidity. I think your friends change as you get older… If you’re not hanging out with people you want to bring on your journey, then it’s probably not the right situation.”

While she’s on a quest for another league title before she retires, Parker is putting together quite the business portfolio in the meantime. She recently started a real estate venture in Miami and plans to eventually launch a production company. Parker said she also has plans of doing more on-screen work this year. She said long term she wants to keep expanding her brand, Candace Parker Inc., through basketball clinics and speaking engagements.

Parker’s older brother, Anthony, played in the NBA nine seasons and overseas for six before he made a transition into a front office role with the Orlando Magic’s G-League team. Parker said she learned a lot about financial literacy watching her brother’s ascension from college star to first-round draft pick.

“I think my business mindset comes from him and also the relationships that I’ve built,” she said. “You have to want to pursue [opportunities] and diversify. Be versatile. Growing up my dad never let me just play the center position, or forward. He always made me play guard, forward and center. So I’ve always been taught to be versatile so it’s the same thing in business.”

“It helps in a number of ways, like connections and relationships, but also just people seeing you. Because I think a lot of the issue is when you stop playing basketball, people stop remembering who you are, so when you’re on television they’re like ‘oh yeah I remember her’ so it’s like staying in people’s minds.”

Parker, who enters her 13th season this May, said she has no timetable of when she’ll retire and that she’ll probably wake up one day and make the decision. But regardless of when that time comes, Parker aims to position herself in a way that leaves a lasting impact that goes beyond basketball.

“I just don’t think your identity should lie in something or someone else,” she added. “It shouldn’t be what your job is or who you’re married to or who your friends are. You’re just setting yourself up for failure when you do that. I’m just trying to diversify my identity.”

Career Basketball Awards

WNBA

  • WNBA Champion: 2016
  • WNBA Finals MVP: 2016
  • 2× WNBA Most Valuable Player: 2008, 2013[65]
  • 5× All-WNBA First Team (2008, 2012–2014, 2017)
  • 2× All-WNBA Second Team (2009, 2015)
  • 2× WNBA All-Defensive Second Team (2009, 2012)
  • 3× WNBA rebounding leader (2008, 2009, 2020)
  • 2× WNBA peak performer (2008, 2009)
  • WNBA Defensive Player of the Year (2020)
  • WNBA All-Star Game MVP (2013)
  • WNBA Rookie of the Year (2008)[65]

College

High school

  • All-State Team (2001-2004: AP, Chicago Sun Times, News-Gazette, Chicago Tribune, IBCA)
  • Gatorade Illinois State Player of the Year (2002-2004)
  • Illinois Miss Basketball (2002-2004)
  • Illinois State Player of the Year (2002-2004: Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Daily Herald, Naperville Sun, News-Gazette)
  • First Team All-American (2002-2004: Nike, Parade, Street & Smith’s, USA Today, 2004: McDonald’s)
  • Gatorade Female Basketball Player of the Year (2003-2004)
  • Naismith Prep Player of the Year (2003-2004)
  • USA Today High School Player of the Year (2003-2004)
  • 2004 Powerade Jam Fest Winner
  • 2004 Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year
  • 2004 Women’s Sports Foundation High School Athlete of the Year

USA Basketball

  • 2004 FIBA U18 World Championship
  • 2006 FIBA World Champions for Women Bronze Medal
  • 2007 FIBA Americas Championship
  • 2008 Beijing Olympics Gold Medal
  • 2012 London Olympics Gold Medal

UMMC Ekaterinburg

  • Championship of Russia (2010-2014)
  • Cup of Russia (2010-2014)
  • EuroLeague Women 3rd Place (2010-2012, 2014)
  • EuroLeague Women Champion 2013
  • EuroLeague Women Final Eight MVP 2013

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