Sky forward Cheyenne Parker has big aspirations after strong start

“I want to be considered one of the best post players in the league.” Cheyenne Parker said.

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Cheyenne Parker wants to be considered on of the best post players in the game.

Chicago Sky

Forward Cheyenne Parker is determined to make a name for herself this season.

“I want to be a more improved player,” Parker said. “And I want to be considered one of the best post players in the league.”

Parker’s off to a strong start.

After flying under the radar for the last few seasons, Parker is an early candidate for the league’s Sixth Woman of the Year award. Entering Friday’s game against the Seattle Storm, she was averaging 10 points on 48.6% shooting. She’s also averaging career highs in rebounds (6.1) and blocked shots (1.5).

Parker came off the bench and had a career-high 22 points in the Sky’s victory against the league-leading Sun last Sunday. It was only her fourth 20-plus performance in the last five seasons.

Parker was modest about her accomplishment after the game, as all she could do was smile. She believes that her hard work is finally paying off.

“No one expects me to be a scorer,” said Parker, who scored six points and had five rebounds Friday in the Sky’s 79-76 loss to the Storm in Seattle. “Sometimes you hear these naysayers and they say, ‘Oh, she was just a defender,’ or ‘Oh, she’s not going to do anything in the league.’ So those are things I always think about and I use that as my fuel to take it to them when I’m on the court. So yeah, it feels good to see that and see myself starting to soar.”

And Parker believes there’s still a lot more room for her to grow.

“I want to get faster,” she said. “I want work on my speed and agility and I want to be able to dunk again. I’m right on the verge of doing it but I’m not there yet.” (There have only been six players in WNBA history to dunk in a game.)

Parker’s work ethic is admirable. Some days, she’s on the court an hour before practice working with her boyfriend, Keevin Tyus, who is a member of the Sky’s practice squad. After practice, she works on her perimeter and free-throw shooting and is always one of the last players off the court.

Parker said she’s also incorporating more weight lifting into her personal training regimen.

“This is the best shape I’ve been in my entire life,” said Parker, who has lost nearly 30 pounds over the last couple of seasons due to a change in her diet. “Because even in college, I was thin, but I wasn’t strong, but now I’m strong and tone.”

Guard Allie Quigley, who has played with Parker since she was drafted fifth overall in 2015, has been impressed with how Parker has improved every season.

“She always comes in and she plays hard,” Quigley said. “And just the transformation with her body this past year, I think that’s made all the difference. [With] the experience and opportunity, she’s only getting better.”

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