LOS ANGELES The Los Angeles Sparks have acquiredforwardcenter Nicky Anosike from the Washington Mystics in exchange for guardNatasha Lacy and forwardcenter LaToya Pringle, Sparks Vice President andGeneral Manager Penny Toler announced Thursday.
The 64 Anosike (ANN-oh-SICK-ee)is a four-year WNBA veteran with career averages of 9.6 points and 7.1rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.0 blocks in 129 regular season games, 122 of thosestarts. After spending her first three seasons with the Minnesota Lynx where she was a member of the 2008 WNBA All-Rookie Team and a 2009 All-Star Anosike was traded to Washington prior to the 2011 campaign for a 2012 firstround draft pick (No. 3 overall). Last season, she ranked eighth in theleague in both rebounding (7.2 per game) and total steals (49), and establishedher career-high of 29 points in a June 9 win over Atlanta.
In Los Angeles, she will be reunited with former University of Tennesseeteammate Candace Parker. The duo helped lead the Lady Vols toback-to-back NCAA Championships in 2007 and 2008. In addition, SparksHead Coach Carol Ross had an opportunity to mentor Anosike on the goldmedal-winning USA Basketball squad at the 2005 FIBA Under-19 WorldChampionships.
Nicky has a tremendous ability to impact a game, and is one of the leaguesbest rebounders year-in and year-out. Defensively, she has greatinstincts, Ross said. Being back in tandem with Candace Parker willgive Nicky an opportunity to expand her game. Penny keeps adding greatpieces to the puzzle and Im really excited to see how we gel in trainingcamp.
Anosike was drafted in the second round, 16th overall in 2008 byMinnesota and promptly shattered the franchise record for steals in a seasonwith 75 while ranking third among all rookies in scoring (9.2 ppg).During All-Star campaign of 2009, she became just the second player in WNBAhistory to lead her team in all five major statistical categories: scoring(13.2 ppg), rebounding (7.4 rpg), assists (2.7 apg), steals (2.7 spg) andblocked shots (0.93 bpg). Anosike is currently playing for Beijing Great Wall in China, where she isaveraging a team-high 15.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per game and has led hersquad into the WCBA Finals, currently taking place.
"It still hasn't hit me yet - I'm so excited to be a part of the LASparks! I know the expectations for me are really high and Im ready to meetthat challenge, Anosike said. I haven't won a championship sinceplaying with Candace at Tennessee, and I know we're both focused on being championsagain and having fun while doing it."
Earlier this month, the Sparks acquired guardforward Marissa Coleman in atrade with Washington and signed free agent guardforward Alana Beard, who hadpreviously been with the Mystics as well.