“My Point GAWDDDDD,” recently exclaimed LA Sparks MVP and Perennial All-Star Forward Candace Parker on Instagram.
Parker was talking about Chelsea Gray, a 2-Time WNBA All-Star Point Guard, who is putting the rest of the W on notice with her clutch, late game performances early in the 2019 season.
“That’s Candace… she’s a legend so when you have somebody like that calling you that, you’re doing alright,” responded Los Angeles Sparks Point Gawd Chelsea Gray with humble laughter.
“My high school coach always used to say, ‘all you have to do is win by one’,” Gray added, who is currently averaging 16.7 points game, 5.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds, while shooting 45.7% from the field, 45.8% on 3-pointers and 95% from the free throw line.
The 26-year-old Gray, has already reached two career milestones for assists and points.
The 5’11 dynamo handed out her 500th career assist and scored a career-high 29 points on 10/20 from the field, 4/7 on 3-pointers and 5/5 from the free throw line against the New York Liberty on June 4.
2017, 2018 and likely 2019 All-Star also surpassed 1500 career points, while dropping 21 points against the Minnesota Lynx on June 8.
“My god,” began newly minted starter Sydney Wiese followed by a hearty, playful laugh. “After the game, my mom texted me and she’s like ‘Chelsea = Clutch’ and I was like yup and a couple of my friends sent (me messages) ‘Chelsea’s like Kobe’.”
Gray was clutch against the Lynx, scoring the Sparks last six points to close out 89-85 victory.
“You live for those type of games but of course if we could win by 15, 20, that’s nice too,” Gray said.
“Chelsea loves to compete. She’s very comfortable in that setting in Minnesota and that’s a position she’ll be in often,” said Sparks Head Coach Derek Fisher. “I think Chelsea is similar in the way I always thought about those situations is really just being excited to step forward and do something to help my team win.”
“It’s huge to have that type of perspective, he’s been in our shoes to be able to make decisions with great players out there,” Gray added about the impact of her new head coach, who is also a 5-Time NBA Champion.
“I’m playing with the likes of Nneka, Candace, Chiney, Alana. When you have those players around you, that’s been around this league for a long period of time and having Derek here with us and communicating with us in a way that’s different from other coaches.”
“She’s amazing. She does it time and time again. She has ice in her veins. She works for moments like that. We feed off of that. It brings so much energy. It’s amazing to see how that ball goes in and she will’s it in and her competitiveness is one in a million,” Wiese marveled when asked to reflect on her All-Star Point Guard.
“I would hate to be against that type of player,” Wiese said.
However, Gray knows there’s always room for improvement.
“Just doing the little things, the intangibles. Also defensively, sometimes throughout the game you feel like you’re in the right spot but then you go back and look at it, ‘you’re like, I wasn’t anywhere near there’,” Gray said. “So I think it’s a learning process so we start to build habits, so when we come into film we’re talking about something different not being at the (proper defensive) spot.”
Gray has an infectious style play and pedigree that makes the game easier for all of her teammates.
“It’s sort of easy for me because I’m surrounded by really, really good players. I just have to knock down open shots and make sure my person stays in front of me when I’m on defense,” Wiese added.
Gray also has respect for potential perimeter matchups against every team in the W, many of which feature elite level point guards.
“I think everybody is in the league for a reason, everybody is capable of scoring, making great plays,” Gray said. “I would say it’s a team effort, you have to know each player because you could be matched up against a post player and you’re a guard, so knowing the basis of each team’s strengths and weaknesses.”
That’s a brief glimpse into Gray’s “Point GAWDDDDD” mindset that could propel the Sparks towards their 2019 WNBA Championship aspirations once the team is at full strength with the anticipated injury returns of Candace Parker and Alana Beard and overseas return of Maria Vadeeva.