Sparks Sign Guard Ashley Shields

The Los Angeles Sparks have signed guard Ashley Shields to a training camp contract, Vice President and General Manager Penny Toler announced Friday. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The 5’10” Shields is currently playing in Israel, where she ranks eighth in the league in scoring at 18.8 points per game and first in steals at 3.3 while suiting up for first-place Maccabi Ashdod. She also averaged 21.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals in the 2011-12 EuroCup. The Memphis, Tenn., native has spent a majority of the last five European seasons in Israel, with other stops in Poland and Slovakia.

In 2007, Shields became the first player drafted into the WNBA from a junior college when the Houston Comets selected her eighth overall from Southwest Tennessee Community College. She averaged 5.3 points in only 11.3 minutes per game as a rookie with Houston, and was then a member of the Detroit Shock’s 2008 WNBA Championship squad.

“Over the years, I’ve watched Ashley continually develop as a player,” Toler said. “She can score in a variety of ways, but what I really like about her is she’s extremely disruptive on defense and is an excellent rebounding guard. We’re excited to add Ashley to the mix for our 2012 training camp.”

“I’m really happy to be given this opportunity, and I’m ready to come in and go to work with the Sparks,” Shields said. “My goals are to work hard every day, make this team, and contribute to the Sparks’ success any way I can.”

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 or visit LASparks.com.

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