Chiney Ogwumike re-signs with Sparks
Forward Chiney Ogwumike re-signed with the Sparks on Wednesday, the team announced, reuniting the former No. 1 overall with the coach who oversaw her most recent All-Star appearance.
After injuries slowed her career, 2014 Rookie of the Year Ogwumike was named an All-Star in 2018 under coach Curt Miller during Ogwumike’s senior year at the Connecticut Sun.
With Miller now overseeing the Sparks’ rebuild, Ogwumike will return for her fourth season with the franchise, having averaged seven points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 26 games in 2022. It was the first time since 2019 that Ogwumike had played in a majority of the games after withdrawing from the pandemic-hit 2020 season and injuries hampering her comeback in 2021.
“The past two seasons here have been the toughest of my basketball career, but I am motivated and inspired to begin a new chapter for the Sparks and I this season,” Ogwumike said in a statement. “Reuniting with Curt, the coach who helped me become an All-Star in 2018, who knows my struggle and my journey on the court, means the world to me.”
While playing with the Sparks, Ogwumike built her second career as an NBA analyst for ESPN.
The Sparks are expected to re-sign Ogwumike’s older sister Nneka. The seven-time All-Star is an unrestricted free agent.
With training camp scheduled to begin in late April, the Sparks added four players to their training camp rosters this month: guards Jordin Canada, Layshia Clarendon, Karlie Samuelson and forward Reshanda Gray.
A year after being signed as the Sparks’ next star point guard, Canada is struggling to retain its roster spot. The former UCLA star and first-round pick started in 25 games for the Sparks last season, averaging 9.2 points and 5.5 assists.
Clarendon, who last played for Minnesota in the WNBA in 2021, offers an experienced point guard presence, and Samuelson, who plays in Australia’s top flight, returns to the Sparks for a fourth time. Gray’s WNBA law career included a season with her hometown Sparks in 2020.
The Sparks are already looking to fill gaps in their roster with forwards Stephanie Talbot and Katie Lou Samuelson set to miss the season. Talbot, a key free-agent signing who was expected to add some much-needed three-point shooting, suffered a cruciate ligament tear while playing overseas this week. Samuelson, Karlie’s younger sister, is planning to give birth to her first child in August.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/sparks/story/2023-02-22/chiney-ogwumike-re-signs-with-sparks-reunites-with-coach-curt-miller Chiney Ogwumike re-signs with Sparks