Candace Parker came to Chicago because it is her hometown and because Sky had what it takes to be a championship contender. As an added bonus, she knew she would be playing with another Chicagoer who was rising to prominence in the area high school basketball celebrities at the same time as her: 2001-2004.
That would be Allie Quigley, who stayed in college in Chicago and has now played in town as a professional for nine seasons.
Parker was the best high school player in the country at the time, winning National Gatorade Player of the Year No. 1 overall in the 2008 WNBA Draft in 2003 and 2004.
Quigley was the second best player in the Chicago area at the time – from the state of Illinois, only she and Parker played in the 2004 WBCA All-America game. She also joined Parker on the Chicago Tribune’s All-State Girls basketball team from 2003-04.
The connection between Candace Parker and Allie Quigley dates back to high school and followed them to the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game. Photo by Jordan Johnson / NBAE via Getty Images
Parker played in Naperville Central, just over an hour west of what is now Sky’s home stadium, Wintrust Arena. Alan Sutton of the Chicago Tribune wrote this story about her after winning Ms. Basketball of Illinois as a junior second year running student in 2003 and a second year April Fool’s Day announcement that she was going to the WNBA, which people were supposed to be on fell for. Parker won two state championships in high school and led Naperville to a 35-0 record as a junior.
Quigley may not have gotten professional offers, but she was also famous, at least in her hometown of Joliet. She played at Joliet Catholic, also just over an hour from Wintrust and just over half an hour south of Naperville. She averaged 26 points and 10 rebounds per game in high school and shot 84 percent off the charity streak. What added to her fame in town was having a family of Joliet athletes that Sarah wrote about Spain for espnW in 2013 when Quigley had just joined Sky.
Quigley’s mother Christine played basketball at the University of St. Francis at Joliet, is a member of the school’s Hall of Fame, and her jersey was retired in 1983. After playing basketball, tennis, softball, and volleyball at Joliet Central High School. Quigley also played volleyball and softball in high school. She was a champion and an all-state pick in volleyball and posted a strikethrough season beating .438 as a softball junior.
Quigley’s father Pat, who died when Quigley was in first grade, played basketball and tennis at St. Francis, where the basketball court is named after him. He also trained several sports at a high school in New Lenox, Illinois.
Then there are Quigley’s siblings. Her older brother Ryan was a baseball star for Joliet Catholic and played independent and minor league baseball from 2007 to 2015. Her youngest brother, Jake, played tennis at St. Francis. Her younger sister Sam was the most closely tracking her own journey, playing basketball with her at DePaul, where she racked up 484 assists – good for sixth place in Blue Demon history. Sam became the head coach of women’s basketball at St. Francis when he was only 24 and is now the head coach of Division I Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Quigley’s own exploits at DePaul are well documented. She scored 2,078 career points, adding to her legacy in the city of Chicago, and was drafted 22nd overall by the Seattle Storm on the same draft as Parker.
Quigley would bounce around the league before landing in Chicago and becoming an all-star for the first time after 30. She has now been to three All-Star Games and has won three 3-point shooting competitions. Parker, on the other hand, became a WNBA legend playing 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks, but last off-season she said she would be home.
Probably not many people knew about the Parker and Quigley connection since high school, but more people now know how much Parker has spoken about it since returning to Chicago. The situation isn’t just special for Parker and Quigley. All the players on the team and all the fans are gathering around the positive atmosphere that surrounds the city.
“I met my wife here,” said Sky superstar point guard Courtney Vandersloot, who is married to Quigley, at the press conference after Chicago reached the final. “It’s definitely like a second home for me. I don’t know anything but Chicago Sky. It’s something special to play for this city. “