Now that was more like it for Candace Parker.
Parker, who in February signed as a free agent with her hometown Chicago team after 13 seasons with Los Angeles, had 20 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and two steals. She had returned to the Sky lineup Wednesday in Chicago after missing eight games with a left ankle injury, but was limited to three points on 1 of 9 shooting from the field in that victory against the Fever.
Parker was 5-of-11 from the field and 8-of-9 from the foul line Saturday. She thought she missed some shots she should have made, but that overall the game was a good step forward.
"I don't think I'm anywhere close to where I need to be. But my legs felt better," Parker said. "It wasn't like I was running through mud, like I felt the other day.
"I am so out of shape. And that's OK. I'm doing cardio and things like that, but you can't simulate game speed and game conditioning. My lungs felt better than last game. It's a process. I still think it's going to take a little bit of time. But we don't have much time. We've got to continue to get better."
Parker played in the Sky's season opener, a 70-56 victory at Washington, on May 15, then was hurt in practice. While she was out injured, Chicago lost seven of eight games. The back-to-back victories over the Fever come with the caveat that Indiana is the last-place team in the league at 1-11, but the wins still felt good for Chicago, 4-7. Next up for the Sky is a trip to Minnesota to face the Lynx on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2.)
"We're getting more comfortable," Parker said. "Next play up, next game up -- that's the mentality we have to have. Look, we lost seven in a row. Now we have the opportunity to continue to get better. We're gonna just keep battling.
"At the end of the day, I think everybody's hearts are in the right spot. And I said that when we were going through our losing streak. It's all positive energy."
Parker, who turned 35 in April played 30 minutes Saturday, up from 18 on Wednesday.
"I'm gonna go [to] the ice tub after this," Parker said. "I'm glad we're taking the bus back [to Chicago] because I'll be able to ice continuously. It is the ankle that was what kept me out. But at 35, when you come back, it's other things. You've got to take care of your knees. You can't forget about your back. I'm trying to just holistically treat my body to feel as good as I can when we play."
In terms of getting shots where she wants them and feeling in rhythm offensively, Parker said, "Our team has to learn what I like, and I've got to learn the sets and things they've done. It's going to go back and forth. It's going to be communication, but it's also going to be getting on the floor and figuring each other out."