Chicago suburbs celebrate hometown stars turned WNBA champions

The celebrations for the Chicago Sky’s WNBA championship are especially loud in two suburban communities.

Joliet and Naperville are home to Allie Quigley and Candace Parker, two of the team’s biggest stars, and both remain very much connected to their home communities.

Members of the Joliet Catholic Academy girls basketball team are celebrating a championship for one of their own.

"It’s really cool to have someone who graduated from here be in the WNBA," said Alyssa Bailey, a member of Joliet Catholic’s women’s basketball team.

Quigley scored a team high 26 points in leading the Sky to Sunday’s championship. But she hasn’t forgotten her roots, frequently returning to Joliet Catholic to meet with players and conduct clinics.

"Well when she would come and visit us, she would always talk about being the hardest worker in the gym and always being the first one to get there and the last one to leave," said JCA player Ally McCarthy.

"I had a lot of text from my girls last night," said Women’s Basketball Coach Kaitlyn Williams. "I think the most incredible thing is she was sitting in the exact same seats my girls are sitting in right now, so it’s really good to see and give them huge confidence going into the season."


School faculty sent a congratulations card to Quigley, whose older brother is head of admissions. Ryan Quigley said his family is beaming.

"Just really gratitude for the community and proud of Allie. She’s always been so humble. She gives back," he said.

And just up the road to the north in Naperville, they’re celebrating another hometown hero.

"Clearly she’s the best player I’ve ever seen play and was fortunate enough to play for us," said Naperville Central coach Andrew Nussbaum. He said WNBA superstar Candace Parker is far and away the best player he ever saw in 41 years of coaching at Naperville Central High School.

Parker led the school to two state championships and was named national player of the year in 2003 and 2004. And like Quigley, she hasn’t forgotten her roots, even putting Coach Nussbaum into her recent Adidas commercial.

Nussbaum said he hopes Parker brings the championship trophy to the school.

"It would be nice if she brought it by. I’m not giving it any time restrictions. It’s like the Stanley Cup, can you bring it by one day?" he said.

Both schools are hoping to honor their championship alums soon, but one Joliet Catholic player said more importantly, it’s brought new attention to the sport she loves.

"I even went to the game on Friday and it was so much energy," said player Layla Pierce. "The stands were filled. The tickets being sold out was amazing."