LOS ANGELES — The Sparks have signed veteran guard Yang Liwei, who has spent her career playing in China.
Yang, 28, is coming off of a season with Inner Mongolia of the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association in which she averaged 13.5 points, 5.2 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 19 games. She shot a career-best 61.4% from the field, including 40.4% from 3-point range, and 81.1% from the free-throw line.
The 5-foot-9, four-time All-Star recently helped China win the silver medal at the FIBA Women’s World Cup, where she averaged 9.3 points, 3.9 assists and 1.6 rebounds while shooting 46.5% from the field and 50% from behind the arc.
“Liwei is an outstanding and respected international guard with big-game experience,” Sparks coach Curt Miller said in a statement released by the team. “She will bring us tremendous energy and enthusiasm on the court. She is a terrific leader on the Chinese national team and we look forward to that leadership impacting our locker room.”
Yang previously played 10 seasons in Guangdong, including two with Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike in 2014 and 2019. Ogwumike is re-signing with the Sparks, it was reported earlier this month.
“She adds quickness, athleticism and international experience to our current roster,” Sparks general manager Karen Bryant said.
Yang will become the second China-born player to suit up for the Sparks. Zheng Haixia was drafted by the team in 1997 and played one season for them, leading the league in field goal percentage.