Marina Mabrey brings versatility to Los Angeles Sparks

The former Notre Dame standout is set to begin her professional career.

The Los Angeles Sparks had three picks in the WNBA Draft, and with their second-round pick (19th overall) they selected Marina Mabrey out of Notre Dame.

Mabrey has been a crucial part of the Fighting Irish the past few seasons. She helped guide them to the national championship a year ago, and was a big reason why they made it to this year’s championship game.

This season, she averaged 13.0 points per game while shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 42.8 percent from the three-point line. Mabrey has been known as a deadly shooter from distance, she shot 40.5 percent from beyond the arc in her four years at Notre Dame.

She’s more than just a shooter, however. She’s got the ability to switch between both guard positions and initiate the offense. Her versatility is something that Sparks head coach Derek Fisher is looking forward to.

“Marina is kind of a combo guard, we can use her to handle the ball and initiate the offense,” Fisher told reporters following the conclusion of the draft. “We can use her off the ball as a floor spacer and shooter. I think in a lot of ways, you need that versatility. She’s capable of providing that which is another thing that we like.”

Mabrey’s versatility is part of a growing trend of ‘positionless” basketball, players capable of switching between multiple positions.

As Mabrey told our Howard Megdal last weekend in Tampa, “I feel like my ability to shoot the ball translates, but also my ability to play the one or the two. Obviously my regular position is a two-guard, so I haven’t been able to do that a lot. I feel like being versatile is how I’ll stick out.”

The Sparks have a few players like that already on the roster and Fisher is looking to take advantage of that.

“I think what you’ll find from our group when we play this year is you won’t always be able to define everybody by a specific position,” Fisher said. “Everybody’s going to be able to handle the basketball…Marina’s ability to play without the basketball is a great theme with the other players that we have who can initiate.”

While Mabrey’s on the court skills are clear, it was a few other intangibles that the Sparks saw when they decided to draft her. General manager Penny Toler believes that her competitive fire is what will help her succeed at the next level.

“She has what you can’t teach, and that’s that competitiveness. She’s a fierce competitor,” Toler told reporters. “She comes with the heart, the passion, and all those things. She’s a fighter…you have to have that. That’s why I think she’s going to fit in well.”

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