(East Los Angeles, CA.) April 16, 2022 [From The Editor’s Desk]: The 2022 WNBA Draft, presented by State Farm, has now come and gone, and the results accredited to the Sparks General Manager and Head Coach, Derek Fisher, and his Coaching Staff, couldn’t have been healthier with the selection of three top NCAA, Division I players, Rae Burrell, the #9 pick overall from Tennessee, Kianna Smith, the 16th selection from Louisville, and Olivia Nelson-Ododa the 19th choice from UConn, all being added to the Sparks Training Camp roster that opens tomorrow, 4/17, at the UCLA Health Training Center, in El Segundo. The team will then be moving to Jump Beyond Sports on 5/1, located in Torrance, CA for the duration of the season.
All draftees making the roster are expected to add new energies and immediate bench strength for the team’s drive to the 2022 WNBA Championship. Let’s take a look at the Sparks’ press announcement made on April 11th.
In speaking of his highest selection, Coach Fisher had this to say, “Rae Burrell is a player we’ve been scouting for several years. Her length, versatility, and ability to play multiple positions will be valuable for us as we continue to build our roster. We’re excited to add Rae to the L.A. Sparks organization.”
LA Sparks Select Three Additional Players in 2022 WNBA Draft
Sparks Add Kianna Smith, Olivia Nelson-Ododa, & Amy Atwell
LOS ANGELES (April 11, 2022) – The Los Angeles Sparks selected Kianna Smith from the University of Louisville with the 16th overall pick, Olivia Nelson-Ododa from the University of Connecticut with the 19th overall pick, and Amy Atwell from the University of Hawaii with the 27th overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft.
Smith, a 6-foot guard from Moreno Valley, California, averaged (11.7) points, (3.4) rebounds and (2.5) assists in (62) total games for the Lady Cards over two seasons. Prior to transferring to Louisville, she played in 65 total games (64 starts), averaging (9.2) points, (2.6) rebounds and (3.8) assists in two seasons with University of California.
“We approached this draft needing wing players as well as additional shooting,” General Manager/Head Coach Derek Fisher said. “Kianna Smith fits both those needs. She excelled on the biggest stage in the Final Four this season and we’re happy to welcome Kianna to LA.”
Nelson-Ododa, an All-Big East First Team selection in 2022, played in (133) total games for the Huskies, holding career averages of (9.2) points, (7.5) rebounds and (1.9) blocks. The 6-foot-5 center from Lansing, Michigan helped lead UConn to four consecutive Final Fours in her collegiate career.
“Olivia Nelson-Ododa was a contributor on both ends of the floor for a UConn program that went to four consecutive Final Fours in her tenure,” Fisher said. “We’re excited to see how her size, length, rebounding, and passing ability can translate at the next level.”
Atwell, a guard/forward from Australia, is the first player from the University of Hawaii drafted since 1997. This past year she won the Big West Conference “Player of the Year,” and led her team to the NCAA tournament. In the first-round against Baylor, Atwell poured in (29) points and grabbed (13) rebounds. During her senior season, she averaged (17.8) points and (6.9) rebounds per game, while shooting (38.4%) on 3-pointers on (6.6) attempts per game.
“Amy Atwell is one of the better shooters in the 2022 class, not just in her ability to convert her attempts but in the way she can get her shot off,” Fisher said. “Atwell coming to camp gives us another floor spacer and versatile, perimeter player.”
The Los Angeles Sparks are dedicated to ensuring each home game at Crypto.com Arena has a championship level entertainment experience while showcasing the best female athletes from around the world on the court. LA Sparks 2022 season tickets are now available for purchase.