During free agency, the Los Angeles Sparks acquired four-time All Star center Liz Cambage and 2016 NCAA Champion forward Katie Lou Samuelson.
Australian native Cambage has dreamed of competing for Los Angeles while Samuelson is from Huntington Beach and attended Mater Dei in Santa Ana.
“I focus on what I can do and what I can bring, which is a big target, rebounds, and points,” Cambage said. “It also means a lot to be working with a coach that knows how great I can be and is gonna allow me to be the player I am.”
Cambage is close friends with Sparks center Amanda Zahui B who told her about how head coach Derek Fisher cares about his players.
“Every day is ‘how are you?’ but it’s not ‘how are you?’ it’s ‘how are you really?’” Cambage said. “I respect that a lot, that’s something I really need is a coach is going to work with me and understand me.”
Cambage has played in the WNBA for five seasons, starting off as the second overall pick in the 2011 draft. She was drafted by the then Tulsa Shock which since became the Dallas Wings. In 2019, the Las Vegas Aces traded Moriah Jefferson and Isabelle Harrison and two 2020 draft picks for Cambage.
The trade paid off in dividends as Cambage aided the Aces to two WNBA Semifinal appearances during her two years there. In her career with the WNBA, she has made 17.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game.
“She’s as efficient of a player as there is in the league, but also comfortable playing anywhere on the floor, five-degree point line, in the post, from the elbows,” Fisher said. “We’re looking forward to offensively being able to take advantage of her ability there.”
Samuelson is going into her fourth season in the WNBA and had played for the Chicago Sky, Dallas Wings, and Seattle Storm. She scored a career-high of 15 points last season against the New York Liberty. During her career, she made 5.0 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. Playing for the Sparks is a full-circle moment for her and champion guard and fellow Los Angeles native Jordin Canada.
“I remember playing Katie Lou and even [forward Karlie Samuelson] when we were younger … and then growing up in high school playing against each other again,” Canada said. “Coming back to L.A. where it all started and being able to represent where we come from and being able to play together at home I think is gonna be a great thing.”
Canada knows that Samuelson is a great shooter and looks forward to getting assists from her shots.
After enduring a tough season riddled with injuries and not reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2011, Fisher is ready to begin practices with his new roster with the hopes of cultivating a contending squad.
“We’re just ready to get to work, there’s only so much that you can say; we want to get to the basketball part as soon as possible,” Fisher said. “We’re just excited to get back to it and give ourselves an opportunity to reach our fullest potential and we think that’ll be pretty high.”