Los Angeles Sparks

Jantel Lavender Returns to LA; Karlie Samuelson Waived

The Los Angeles Sparks welcomed back center Jantel Lavender today after she finished playing in the Turkish League Finals for Yakin Dogu.

Sparks Get Jantel Lavender Back

The Sparks had been without Lavender for the first four games of the 2018 WNBA season, the first three without veteran forward, Candace Parker (back) and are still without rookie center Maria Vadeeva, who remains overseas and isn’t expected to return in early June.

Lavender, who was drafted by Los Angeles in 2011 out of Ohio State, has averaged 9.0 Points-Per-Game and 4.7 Rebounds-Per-Game in her seven-year WNBA career. She was also an All Star in 2015 and won the Sixth Woman of the Year Award in 2016, the same year that the Sparks went on to win their first WNBA Championship title in 13 years.

Karlie Samuelson Waived

Because of the aforementioned roster moves, the Sparks waived rookie guard Karlie Samuelson. She was signed on May 19 as a replacement player under the hardship cap exception. The 6′ guard played for the Stanford Cardinal before joining the WNBA and played the offseason in Italy for Vigarano averaging 14.8 PPG and 4.9 RPG.

Los Angeles Sparks

(image via Jen Flores | LA Sports Access)

Samuelson was also a familiar face to L.A. as she had previously attended the Sparks training camp in 2017 but due to injury was unable to continue.

With the Sparks this season, she averaged 3.5 PPG and shot 40 percent from the 3pt range, as she tried to fill Lavender’s void.

This year, she went on to complete training camp but was cut from the team as Los Angeles opted to initially keep 11 players rather than 12. But because Lavender and Vadeeca were still overseas, the Sparks were left with only nine players after the team announced Parker would be ruled out with injury.

That allowed the Sparks to apply for an emergency hardship which is granted when a team has fewer than 10 players available. The league terminates this request once 10 players are available once again.

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