June 28, 2020
Sparks add two players to roster
Chiney Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver opted out on Friday.
Following the Friday announcements that Chiney Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver would sit out the 2020 WNBA season, the Los Angeles Sparks moved quickly over the weekend to fill their vacant roster spots.
On Saturday, the Sparks announced that they had signed forward Reshanda Gray.
A Los Angeles native, Gray was originally drafted by the Minnesota Lynx with the 16th overall pick in the 2015 draft. She was traded that season to the Atlanta Dream where she spent the 2016 season.
She had been out of the WNBA for a couple of years, before making the New York Liberty’s roster last season. In 34 games with the Liberty, she put up 5.2 points per game and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 47.3 percent from the field. She’ll help provide additional front-court depth.
In a statement released by the Sparks organization, head coach Derek Fisher expressed optimism at how she will fit in with the current roster.
“Coaching against Reshanda last year, her aggressiveness in the paint was obvious. She’s a willing rebounder and has developed a good repertoire of post moves,” Fisher said. “We know she is someone who will mesh with our group and we’re excited to add her to the roster.”
While Gray will add toughness and skill in the paint, the Sparks also had a need for help in the backcourt with the absence of Toliver. They moved to fill that role with the signing of rookie Te’a Cooper on Sunday morning.
Cooper was selected by the Phoenix Mercury with the 18th overall pick in this past April’s draft, but she was one of the final roster cuts when teams had to get down to the league maximum of 12 players.
Cooper had a solid senior year at Baylor, putting up 13.6 points per game and 4.3 assists while converting on 41.5 percent from the three-point line. She originally began her college career at the University of Tennessee and continued at South Carolina before spending the past season at Baylor as a graduate transfer. She’s a talented playmaker who can play both guard positions and has a strong outside shot.
Fisher was also pleased to be able to add a young player with the potential that Cooper has.
“Te’a proved at Baylor that she can facilitate effectively as a point guard and is also one of the better 3-point shooters entering the WNBA as a rookie,” Fisher said. “She’ll be able to provide us depth at both guard positions and we’re excited to work with her.”
Written by David Yapkowitz
David has been with The Next team since the High Post Hoops days when he joined the staff in 2018. He is based in Los Angeles and covers the LA Sparks, Pac-12 Conference, Big West Conference and some high school as well.