Connecticut Sun Reaches Agreement to
McWilliams-Franklin to Los Angeles Sparks
“Taj has been a huge part of our success the past four years,” Sun Head Coach Mike Thibault said. “She was a great leader, especially defensively on the court, and a good example for everyone on how to prepare every day to be a good pro. However, Taj and I have always had an agreement between us that if she ever felt that she didn’t want to play here anymore, that I would try to accommodate her by making a trade that would benefit her and the Connecticut Sun. This past winter, Taj indicated to me that she wanted to have a fresh start somewhere else and did not want to return to the Sun. Today’s trade is a result of that request. While we feel Taj has several good years remaining in her career, we did not want to have a player here whose heart is not in being here.
“We have put together a deal that is very promising for both the short-term and long-term future of our franchise. Erika De Souza (at age 24) is one of the best young centers in the world, and the ability to acquire another 1st round pick in a fairly good draft allows us to continue to add to the depth of this team. Most of all, this trade allows Asjha Jones to fulfill all the promise she has shown the past couple of seasons. Our entire organization feels that Asjha has become one of the cornerstones of this team and we are all looking forward to Asjha having a great impact on our upcoming 2007 season. We expect the combination of Asjha, Margo, and Erika, as well as our other post players, to be a formidable front line.”
De Souza, a 6-foot-5 center from Brazil, is currently playing for Ros Casares in the FIBA Euroleague, where she is averaging 6.4 points and 3.3 rebounds in just under 13 minutes per game. Last season, she was named the Spanish League’s Player of the Year after leading her team, Universitat de Barcelona, to the finals. De Souza played for the Los Angeles Sparks during the 2002 season.
McWilliams-Franklin, a five-time All-Star, has been with the franchise since its inception as the Orlando Miracle in 1999. During her eight-year career, she averaged 12.4 points and 7.5 rebounds in 243 career games. The Miracle selected the 6-2 forward from St. Edward’s in the third round (32nd overall) of the 1999 WNBA Draft.
“Taj has been a tremendous asset to our team over the years,” Sun General Manager Chris Sienko said. “However, this trade provides us with young players who can make an immediate impact on the team.”
The Connecticut Sun tip off their fifth season at Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday, May 26th. Season ticket plans and mini-plans are on sale now and can be reserved by calling a Sun Season Ticket Sales Representative at 1.877.SUN.TIXX.