The Los Angeles Sparks have signed 2020 No. 3 WNBA draft pick Lauren Cox, the team announced on Wednesday. The 23-year-old forward was inexplicably cut by the league-worst Indiana Fever on Sunday after a lackluster start to her still-very-early career.
“We’re excited to add Lauren Cox to our organization,” General Manager and Head Coach Derek Fisher said in a release. “Lauren delivered on the biggest stage in college as an efficient scorer, skilled passer, and tenacious rebounder for one of the nation’s most accomplished programs. We believe in her potential to be an impact player in this league and look forward to welcoming her to the Sparks family.”
Cox has played just 25 games in the WNBA, and 14 of those were in the 2020 bubble season after she had contracted Covid-19. She joined the team late and never found her footing, averaging just 3.6 points on 41.9 percent shooting with 3.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 0.3 blocks per game. In 2021, she’s hardly had a chance to play. In 11 games, she averaged 8.6 minutes and scored 1.4 points with 2.0 rebounds.
This signing was a no-brainer for the Sparks, and it’s a great opportunity for Cox, too. The Sparks will compete for a chance to make the playoffs, but are under no pressure to succeed further than that. L.A. is in a semi-rebuild after losing both Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray as free agents. Taking a swing at the No. 3 pick from 14 months ago makes a ton of sense for the team.
On paper, L.A. seems like a great match for Cox, too. With Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike both sidelined with knee injuries, she should have plenty of opportunities before the Olympic break to prove herself as a WNBA player. The Sparks are 6-8 this season and led by veterans Kristi Toliver, Amanda Zahui B and Erica Wheeler. Cox should learn a lot and have a chance to make an impact for a solid team.
The Baylor standout averaged 12.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.6 blocks in her senior college season two years ago. The Sparks will look to get her back there.