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After Sparks lose guard Riquna Williams to Las Vegas, they sign Amanda Zahui B. from Liberty

New York Liberty's Amanda Zahui B. avoids the defense of Atlanta Dream's Monique Billings.
New York Liberty’s Amanda Zahui B., right, avoids the defense of Atlanta Dream’s Monique Billings during the first half on Sept. 3, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla.
(Mike Carlson / Associated Press)

Hours after losing backup guard Riquna Williams to the Las Vegas Aces in free agency on Thursday, the Sparks answered with a splashy move to sign 6-foot-5 center Amanda Zahui B. from the New York Liberty.

Zahui B., who was drafted second overall in 2015, had career-highs in points (nine per game) and rebounds (8.5) last year while shooting 34% from three-point range. The versatile center could prove valuable as the Sparks search for a way forward without star forward Candace Parker, who signed with the Chicago Sky.

“Amanda Zahui B. brings rebounding, size and can space the floor from the center position,” Sparks general manager and head coach Derek Fisher said in a statement. “She’s a great teammate and person who brings the type of toughness and work ethic we want in our locker room.”

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Williams, who was the Sparks’ fourth-leading scorer at 10.5 points per game last year, is the second guard to leave the team in favor of the Aces, joining starting point guard Chelsea Gray after both signed as unrestricted free agents.

Williams, a 2015 WNBA All-Star, was the Sparks’ bench catalyst in 2020, shooting 42.2% from three-point range. She led the team in three-point shots made with 43, which was almost more than double of Sydney Wiese’s second-place total of 25.

In 2019, Williams was suspended by the WNBA for 10 games for a domestic violence arrest in which she was charged with burglary and aggravated assault. The charges were dropped in February 2020.

The Sparks have lost three of their five unrestricted free agents this month between Gray, Williams and Parker.

Candace Parker, a Sparks cornerstone, reportedly will sign with the Chicago Sky. That’s like Clayton Kershaw leaving the Dodgers or Mike Trout departing the Angels.

The team’s other unrestricted free agents from last year’s roster are 36-year-old Seimone Augustus and forward Reshanda Gray, who played 62 minutes in 10 games after signing a one-year contract as a last-minute substitute for Chiney Ogwumike. Ogwumike’s contract expired while she sat out of the 2020 season, and the Sparks maintain exclusive negotiating rights to the former No. 1 overall pick.

The Sparks have announced the addition of guard Erica Wheeler, a 2019 All-Star from the Indiana Fever, and the re-signing of restricted free agent guard Brittney Sykes. The team is also expected to announce a new contract for forward Nneka Ogwumike, who was designated as a core player and could only negotiate with the Sparks.


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