Los Angeles Sparks Select Nnemkadi Ogwumike with
First Pick in 2012 WNBA Draft 
Los Angeles Picks Five Players, Four in First 16 Selections

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Sparks selected Nnemkadi Ogwumike from Stanford with the first pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft presented by Boost Mobile. The 6’2” forward led the Stanford Cardinal to four straight NCAA Final Four appearances.

With three second round selections in the first four picks, the Sparks drafted Farhiya Abdi from Sweden with the #13 pick, Khadijah Rushdan from Rutgers with the #15 pick and Tyra White from Texas A&M with the #16 pick. With the 28th overall and final selection for Los Angeles, the Sparks took April Sykes from Rutgers.

But the highlight of the draft was Ogwumike (oh-GWOOM-ih-KAY). The forward averaged 22.5 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game in her senior season. She was named 2011-2012 PAC-12 Player of the Year, All-PAC-12 First Team, and PAC-12 Tournament MOP, while leading the conference in scoring, defensive rebounds and free-throw percentage.

“Nneka will be a great addition to our team,” Sparks Vice President and General Manager Penny Toler said. “She has great leadership skills that match her top-notch work ethic. She can do a little of everything – rebound, shoot, run the floor and defend. She will be a great teammate to help us make our run for the WNBA Championship.”

Ogwumike was a finalist for the Wade Trophy and Wooden Award in each of the last three seasons. She finished as Stanford’s second all-time leading scorer, behind Candice Wiggins. She is just the fourth Stanford woman with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career (Jayne Appel, Nicole Powell and Val Whiting were the others).

As a junior and a sophomore, Ogwumike was named State Farm All-America First Team, AP Second Team and All Pac-10 Team. She was also the 2009-2010 PAC-10 Player of the Year and the NCAA Regional Tournament MVP.

Abdi is a 6’2 forward that has played internationally for Sweden. In 29 games for the 2011-12 Czech Republic league, Abdi averaged 14.6 points, 7 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.7 assists in 29 games. She has also competed in the 2011 European Championships U20, and the 2011-2012 Euroleague.

Rushdan, a 5’9” guard, just finished her senior season at Rutgers, averaging 13 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game. The Delaware native was a Wade Trophy finalist and was named to the All-Big East First Team. She led her Scarlet Knights in assists and tied for the lead in points with Sykes.

White, a 6’0” guard, averaged 13.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists for Texas A&M in her senior season. The Missouri native was named the Final Four MOP when she led her Aggies over Notre Dame for the NCAA National Championship. White was named First Team All-Big 12 in 2012.

Sykes, a 6’0” combo guard/forward averaged 13 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game. She was named All-Big East Second Team after tying for the lead in points for her Rutgers team with Rushdan.

 The Sparks will tip-off the 2012 season Friday, May 18 at the Seattle Storm before the same two teams do battle at STAPLES Center on Sunday, May 20 at 5:30 p.m.  For group and season ticket information, call 877.44.SPARKS (772757) or visit LASparks.com.

The Los Angeles Sparks enter their 16th Women's National Basketball Association season in 2012 and are one of three original teams from the league's inaugural campaign in 1997.  Winner of back-to-back WNBA Championships in 2001 and 2002, Los Angeles' roster of star athletes includes 2008 WNBA MVP and Rookie of the Year Candace Parker, two-time WNBA champion DeLisha Milton-Jones and four-time All-Star Alana Beard.  The Sparks play their home games at STAPLES Center in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.  For ticket information, call 877-44-SPARKS (772757) or visit LASparks.com