Los Angeles Sparks announce training camp roster

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 4: Candace Parker /

The Los Angeles Sparks announced their training camp roster on Thursday on the team website. Nneka Ogwumike, Chelsea Gray and several others are expected to join the team later on after fulfilling their obligations overseas. Candace Parker and Alana Beard and several other returning players will be in Los Angeles for the start of camp.

High Post Hoops confirmed with the team Thursday evening that 2018 third round pick Julia Reisingerova will not be coming over to the WNBA this season, and that the team has waived three players — Maimouna Diarra, Saicha Grant-Allen and Tiffany Jackson-Jones.

Update (4/30): Jackson-Jones was added to Karen Aston’s staff at Texas as an assistant coach, and the Sparks signed two additional undrafted free agents. Michigan State’s Taya Reimer and Notre Dame’s Kathryn Westbeld will be in camp with the Sparks. Reimer spent her first three years in South Bend before transferring to Michigan State. Westbeld was a starting forward for the Irish this past season throughout their run to a national championship.

Diarra, a 6’6 center, logged 20 minutes in 10 games last season with the Sparks as a rookie. Jackson-Jones, a nine-year veteran, appeared in 26 games with the team in 2017. Grant-Allen was selected in the third round of the 2017 WNBA Draft by the Sparks.

No. 11 overall pick Maria Vadeeva will be among the late arrivals to camp, a group that also includes Jantel Lavender, Riquna Williams, Jolene Anderson and Ana Dabovic.

2018 second round pick Shakayla Thomas of Florida State will be in camp, as will five other undrafted free agents. Gabbi Ortiz (Oklahoma), Lexi Bando (Oregon), Brooke McCarty (Texas), Jessica Lindstrom (Green Bay) and Kaylee Jensen (Oklahoma State) will kick off their professional careers looking to make their mark with a team coming off two straight WNBA Finals appearances.

Karlie Samuelson and 10-year vet Mistie Bass will also be in attendance. Samuelson was in camp with the Sparks last season but had to bow out early due to injury.

To summarize, the Sparks return nine players from last season (Parker, Ogwumike, Gray, Beard, Lavender, Williams, Essence Carson, Odyssey Sims and Sydney Wiese). Cappie Pondexter, who started 15 games last season for the Chicago Sky, signed with Los Angeles this offseason as an unrestricted free agent.

Two of their three 2018 draft picks (Vadeeva, Thomas) will be in camp. Reisingerova will be a name to possibly look out for in the future.

Four of the remaining players set to attend (Samuelson, Bass, Anderson and Dabovic) have some combination of overseas, international and WNBA experience. Finally, five rookies from the 2018 class (Bando, Ortiz, McCarty, Lindstrom, Jensen) will make their way to Los Angeles not yet two months removed from the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Next: Sparks sign Cappie Pondexter

Roster spots don’t come easy in the WNBA. Pencil in the nine returning players, Pondexter, and Vadeeva, and you’re talking about 10 names for that final roster spot.

The Sparks will kick off the 2018 regular season at the Target Center in Minneapolis against the Minnesota Lynx on May 20 (5 PM ET, ESPN2).