Los Angeles, CA (June 9, 2018)—The Sparks activated their first-round pick Maria Vadeeva today as she is expected to arrive in Los Angeles later this afternoon from Russia. The 6-foot-4 rookie center was the 11th overall pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have Maria start her Sparks career,” Sparks Executive Vice President and General Manager Penny Toler said. “Maria has experience going up against some of the best WNBA players in Europe and at age 19 the sky’s the limit when thinking about her development and potential.”
The 19-year-old already has an impressive resume playing professionally in Europe since 2014. Most recently, Vadeeva played for Dynamo Kursk in Russia alongside Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike, Angel McCoughtry of the Atlanta Dream and Epiphanny Prince of the New York Liberty. The club won the Russian Premier League title during the 2016-2017 season. In 2017- 2018, Vadeeva averaged 9.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 blocks in 19.1 minutes per game.
Vadeeva is also a member of the Russian National Team, playing in EuroBasket in both 2015 and 2017. She’ll give the Sparks another versatile post player that will add depth to the Sparks talented frontcourt. The Sparks take on the Chicago Sky Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center in Los Angeles at 2PT on Spectrum SportsNet.
ABOUT THE LOS ANGELES SPARKS
Founded in 1996, the Los Angeles Sparks have won three WNBA Championships (2001, 2002, 2016), and remain the only active team in the league to have won back-to-back titles and have qualified for the playoffs in 16 of their 20 seasons. Led by an ownership group led by five-time NBA Champion Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Mark Walter, the Los Angeles Sparks are dedicated to ensuring each home game at Staples Center has a championship level entertainment experience, while showcasing the best female athletes from around the world on the court. The team plays their regular season annually from May through September.