Los Angeles Sparks: Karlie Samuelson Signs for Remainder of 2018 WNBA Season

The Los Angeles Sparks signed guard Karlie Samuelson for the rest of the 2018 WNBA season, the team announced Sunday.

“We’re really excited to bring Karlie back into the fold,” Sparks general manager Penny Toler said in the team’s press release. “Karlie showed she can play at the WNBA level with her ability to shoot from the perimeter. She will immediately add value to our team.”

The Sparks signed Samuelson to a training camp contract in February. Los Angeles released her after four games once Jantel Lavender returned from playing with Turkish side Yakin Dogu Universitesi.

Samuelson established herself as a deadly sharpshooter in her four years with the Stanford Cardinal. According to Her Hoops Stats, she was ninth in three-point percentage (.473) nationally as a junior in 2015-16 and improved to seventh (.485) as a senior. In 2016-17, she was ninth in true shooting percentage (.669) and 11th in effective field-goal percentage (.637).

During her abbreviated run with the Sparks to start the season, the team used Samuelson almost exclusively as a three-point specialist. All but one of her 11 field-goal attempts came from beyond the arc. She shot 4-of-10 from three-point range in four games.

Samuelson’s ability to catch and shoot makes her valuable for a team with a star-studded roster. She doesn’t need to have the ball in her hands to be an efficient scorer.

In her senior year at Stanford, Samuelson connected on 51.4 percent of her catch-and-shoot opportunities, according to Synergy Sports. She was also a 41.7 percent shooter coming off screens.

The Sparks have taken a slight step backward offensively in 2018, which is likely due in part to Candace Parker’s back injury. Los Angeles was second in offensive rating (106.5) and has slipped to sixth (102.0) this year.

Three-point shooting specifically has been an area where the Sparks can improve. They’re averaging 4.8 three-pointers a game, which ranks 10th in the WNBA. In that respect, Samuelson can make an impact for Los Angeles, even in a limited role off the bench.