Parker to Curt Miller: 'We don't hang conference banners' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller had something to say after his team eliminated the defending champion Chicago Sky from playoff contention with a 72-63 win in Game 5 of their semifinal series on Thursday.
"I do want to get on the record for this. We've (the Sun) knocked Candace Parker out of the playoffs three out of the last four years," Miller said. "She is an incredible, all-time great in this league. But I hope someone writes the combination of JJ (Jonquel Jones), AT (Alyssa Thomas) and Bri Jones have knocked her out three out of the last four years. I hope that post group gets credit for what they do, night in and night out, for us."
Miller is correct.
In 2019, his Sun eliminated Parker's Los Angeles Sparks with a 3-0 sweep in the semifinals.
In 2020, they downed the Sparks 73-59 in the second round of the single-elimination phase of the playoffs (that the league has since done away with).
And in 2022, Connecticut pulled out a gutsy series win by routing the Sky in Game 4 at home, then completing an historic comeback in Game 5 on the road to clinch a trip to the WNBA Finals. To Miller's point: Jonquel Jones, Alyssa Thomas and Brionna Jones spearheaded an interior attack that pounded the Sky offensively, and frustrated the them defensively, as the series wore on.
But Parker had the perfect response when presented with his comments in her postgame presser.
"I mean, here's the thing. We have a standard that we uphold. We won a championship last year. We don't hang conference banners," Parker said.
"So, to be honest with you — I mean, defensively I think that, yeah, they (the Sun) did a great job. They won the series. But I think if it's anything it's us and our aggression that changes things. And we've shown that we can do that in a series, regardless... It is what it is."
What Parker left out — but certainly implied — is that the Sky beat the Sun 3-1 in the 2021 semifinals en route to last season's title. The Sun have yet to hang their franchise's first banner, although they will have an opportunity to do so this season.
A tall test awaits them in 2022 MVP A'ja Wilson and the Las Vegas Aces. But riding the high of a thrilling semifinal victory, Miller's confidence in his squad is palpable.