March 2, 2021 

Chiney Ogwumike re-signs with the Sparks

"As we transition to this new stage, we still have tremendous talent and leadership…I think you can only be excited," Ogwumike said

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The Los Angeles Sparks made another move to shore up their roster with the re-signing of veteran forward Chiney Ogwumike. She’ll be rejoining the team after opting-out of the 2020 season.

Ogwumike was traded to the Sparks before the 2019 season after spending the first five years of her career with the Connecticut Sun. She settled into a bench role with the team and put up 9.6 points per game and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 49.4 percent from the field in her first full season with the Sparks.

In a call with media on Monday afternoon, Ogwumike admitted that her first season with the Sparks wasn’t as smooth as she had anticipated.

“Transitioning to a new team a couple of years ago was probably more challenging than I even thought. I’m the type of person that will try to get nitty-gritty, take the charge, grab the rebound, set the hard pick, run the lane, and just trying to find my place was harder than I thought,” Ogwumike said. “I think now having the experience and a year under my belt, understanding Coach Fish…I feel so much more at ease to be able to be me.”

A former No. 1 overall pick and a two-time All-Star, Ogwumike helps strengthen the Sparks frontcourt. She’s a talented low post player with a nice touch around the rim and she can step out and shoot from the midrange. She arrived in Los Angeles in a trade with Connecticut for the team’s draft pick in 2020.

In addition to her on the court efforts, Ogwumike works for ESPN where she became the first Black woman to host a national radio show. She credited her broadcasting duties with allowing her to remain stateside and be able to give her body the rest she needed and work on her game.

“It’s allowed me to just really go back to square one with my game and work on the things that I really need to work on whether it’s midrange shooting, three-point shooting, skill work, but most importantly the number one thing I’ve been trying to focus on is reading the defense,” Ogwumike said. “It’s been a nice reset and it’s been fun. I’m glad to continue my progressions but now with the team again.”

The departures of Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray certainly present new challenges for the Sparks, but Ogwumike believes the team still has enough on their roster to remain a competitive team.

She was encouraged by the acquisitions of Amanda Zahui B., Bria Holmes, and Erica Wheeler and their ability to mesh with the team and she thinks the Sparks will play with a little extra motivation this upcoming season.

“As we transition to this new stage, we still have tremendous talent and leadership…I think you can only be excited,” Ogwumike said. “While many people might be focusing on what we do not have, what we do have actually can hold us together pretty nicely as a team. I think everyone has a chip on their shoulder here as well.”

Written by David Yapkowitz

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