On the Court with Tierra Ruffin-Pratt

In her senior season at the University of North Carolina, Tierra Ruffin–Pratt solidified her Tar Heels legacy. In that breakout year, the 5’10 guard led the university in assists, steals, and scoring—averaging 15.5 points per game. In the postseason, she led UNC to the conference title game, a three seed in the NCAA tournament, and dropped  a staggering 30 points in the first-round game vs. Albany.

While her senior season garnered much attention, the Virginia native’s name wasn’t called during the 2013 WNBA draft. Nonetheless, her performance, in addition to receiving All-ACC First Team honors, All-Region second honors, and a position on the ACC’s All-Tournament Team, earned her training camp invitations from multiple WNBA teams. In 2013, Ruffin-Pratt, signed with the Washington Mystics.

According to the Washington Post, Ruffin-Pratt said, “Everybody out here are great players. It’s motivation to keep getting better. The main thing is being a big guard because they have a lot of small guards on this team. Just being a big guard, being able to handle the ball, get to the basket, and make plays.”

In her first two seasons, the Mystics finished third in the Eastern Conference. TRP appeared in 34 games off the bench, with six starts, and averaged 4.5 ppg. But just one season later, TRP became an intricate part of Washington’s offense and the starting shooting guard for the Mystics, starting in 31 of 32 games.

“She brings a lot of experience coming off of a finals appearance and will immediately add value on both ends of the floor.” -Penny Toler, LA Sparks EVP and General Manager

From 2016 to 2017, the UNC alum moved to starting small forward as the Mystics signed shooting guard Tayler Hill. In her new role, Ruffin-Pratt averaged 7.3 ppg for that season. In 2017, she returned to her shooting guard position, and contributed to Washington’s semi-final appearance—which was the first second-round advancement in franchise history for the Mystics.

In her last year, Ruffin- Pratt appeared in all 33 games, starting ten times, averaging 5.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. She logged a season-high 16 points in a victory over Phoenix and her contributions led the Mystics to a 21-12 record.

After six seasons with the Mystics, the veteran decided to take her talents to the West Coast. In February of 2019, she signed with the Los Angeles Sparks, under new head coach, Derek Fisher.

In an interview with High Post Hoops, she said, “My family was so excited when I told them that I could be coming to LA. I think getting their blessing and seeing that they’re just as excited, maybe more, I think that made it a little easier.”

“I’m thrilled to have Tierra Ruffin- Pratt join the Sparks family,” said Penny Toler, the Sparks Executive Vice President and General Manager. “She brings a  lot of experience coming off of a finals appearance and will immediately add value on both ends of the floor.”

After signing with the Sparks, Ruffin- Pratt traveled overseas to play in Israel—averaging 11.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. In her return to Los Angeles, she’s started in 15 of 16 games, averaging 6.4 ppg, 2.6 rebounds per game, and 2.3 assists per game.

When asked what she thought of the new coach so far, she said: “I think for me it’s changing my mindset from everything that was instilled into me before I got here. He kind of wants a more open where you play your game and we will get you better at the things you want to get better at and it will make the team great.”