In the April 15 WNBA draft, the Los Angeles Sparks selected Kentucky guard A’Dia Mathies with their tenth pick, and Kansas State guard Brittany Chambers at pick 22. They also chose Ukrainian guard Alina Iagupova with their 34th pick. Sparks General Manager Penny Toler and Coach Carol Ross each commented on the selections, and Mathies made a statement on being drafted.
Toler on choosing Mathies:
“We have a great backcourt in Lindsay Harding, Kristi Toliver and Alana Beard, but we need some more scoring punch off the bench. This is why we drafted A’Dia Mathies – she’s a guard that can do everything. When we take out Toliver or Beard, we won’t lose a beat. Mathies runs and shoots, she can defend, and we need players like her.
She won’t have any pressure (to develop quickly), because those three guards in front of her are spectacular. She’ll come in as already a really good player, and I look for her to develop because she’ll be going against Toliver, Harding and Beard every day in practice. She’s a tough player, but there’s a difference from Kentucky, where she had to carry her team. Here she can just fit in and just relax and play her game.
We do need some help in the back court, and A’Dia Mathies is a spectacular player. She’s only going to get better playing against the guards we already have.
The biggest need we had was for a point guard, and we got that through free agency with Lindsay Harding. This allowed for us to pick any way we wanted to today. We really don’t have any holes now, we’re just trying to strengthen what we already have.
The league is continuing to evolve faster, tougher, stronger. The league is full of incredible players.”
On Chambers: “She’s a gunner, a shooter. Chambers has a lot of offense to her game. She’s just a big scorer and she’s got very good feet, she’s energy in motion. Let’s see if she can do the same things she was doing at K State at this level. I’m excited to find out.”
On their selections:
“We’re just trying to build depth. You can’t have too many guards in this league. For us it’s about getting more handlers and getting more people in those guard spots – that was our big challenge.”
“It’s a blessing that Los Angeles would give me a chance. I had no idea where I would go in the draft.
The Sparks have top-notch players and a great history, in players like Lisa Leslie. I will come there and do my best, and the players there now will help me to become better.”