Sparks sign former Liberty forward Reshanda Gray to help fill in for Chiney Ogwumike
The Sparks announced the signing Saturday after Ogwumike cited medical precautions related to previous injuries for her reason to sit out the coronavirus-shortened season, which is expected to tip off at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., in late July. Sparks guard Kristi Toliver also opted out over concerns about the virus.
Gray, a Los Angeles native who went to Washington Prep High, averaged 5.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in 15.3 minutes per game last season for the Liberty. She was waived in May.
The Sparks’ Chiney Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver are opting out of this WNBA season, citing medical precautions and health concerns amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Gray said in a statement. “I’m just grateful for the opportunity to represent my hometown and be a part of the Los Angeles franchise. It’s a dream come true.”
With Ogwumike opting out of the season, the Sparks needed experienced reinforcements to help former league MVPs Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike in the frontcourt. They added third-year center Marie Gulich and second-year forward Kristine Anigwe during the offseason.
Gray was the 2015 Pac-12 Conference player of the year at California and was selected 16th in the WNBA draft that year by the Minnesota Lynx before being traded to the Atlanta Dream. She played 27 games as a rookie between the two teams and 28 games in 2016 for the Dream.
The 6-foot-2 forward spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons in South Korea and Hungary. She was one of two Liberty players to appear in all 34 games last season along with All-Star guard Kia Nurse and put up career highs in points and rebounds.
“Coaching against Reshanda last year, her aggressiveness in the paint was obvious,” Sparks coach Derek Fisher said. “She’s a willing rebounder and has developed a good repertoire of post moves. We know she is someone who will mesh with our group, and we’re excited to add her to the roster.”
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