Jasmine Lister has always been on Brian Agler’s radar. The Vanderbilt graduate spent the 2014 preseason in training camp with the Seattle Storm, but a logjam at the point guard position made it hard for the coaching staff to keep four point guards. Lister was cut on the final day of training camp, and from there, her path to the WNBA took a few twists.
She accepted a position as an assistant coach on Geno Auriemma’s staff at Connecticut and was a part of the Huskies’ incredible championship run. And then the 2015 WNBA season started. Agler, now the head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks, found himself in need of a point guard when the injury bug hit his team.
Lister was the first guard on his mind.
“I coached her in Seattle during training camp a year ago,” Agler said, “so I was real familiar with her and had a lot of confidence in her.”
“I was in such disbelief,” Lister said of the moment she got the call from Agler. “I couldn’t believe it at all. I was so excited. I felt a little bit of comfortability, because I knew what my experience last year in Seattle was like, and so I felt like the way his coaching style is, I was ready for it this year. Now I know what [Agler] wants me to do a little bit more and I can go do that now.”
The 5-foot-4 Lister has excelled in Los Angeles, filling in during the Sparks’ recent east coast road trip. She played in all three of the Sparks’ games on the trip, averaging 6.7 points, 3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.
Her experience at UConn was full of success. The Huskies went 35-1 and won the program’s 10th national championship.
Now, as her career has taken a different turn, she’s a member of a Sparks team that has yet to experience the joys that come with a victory. Despite her strong play, the Sparks have struggled to start the season and are still searching for their first win of 2015.
“It’s definitely hard, because we did come from a winning program at UConn,” Lister said. “Then coming here, it’s like now we’re rebuilding, and so we’ve got to come together and figure out how to beat the next team that we’re going to play.
“Rather than being a part of putting together a game plan, it’s about executing a game plan that’s given to us from Coach Agler and the rest of the coaches here. I’m in a different seat now with a different perspective. Now I just got to go out and execute it and help whatever they need me to do for them.”