With so many new faces on the Los Angeles Sparks training camp roster, coaches and players alike, the rookies are looking to make an immediate impact.
Six players from last year's team are currently not with the Sparks, including starters Candace Parker and Kristi Toliver, who will rejoin the team later in the season.
Hoping to fill that void, and take advantage of a great opportunity, are seven rookies: Cierra Burdick, Jennifer Hamson (last year's second-round pick who decided to play her senior year of volleyball), Andrea Hoover, Tyonna Outland, Annalise Pickrel, Mariana Tolo, and Elina Babkina.
Nneka Ogwumike, the fourth-year forward from Stanford, was impressed by the maturity of the young newcomers. She credited the "attitude and atmosphere that coach Agler has introduced to the team," as a contributing factor. In particular, Burdick, is impressing veterans and coaches alike.
Ogwumike felt that the second-round pick is, "figuring out how to incorporate herself into, not only the offense and the defense, but into the team." Burdick, a 6'2" forward from the University of Tennessee, called her opportunity "a blessing and a great learning experience" -- especially to be around veterans and coaches, who possess the tools, to make others around them better.
With just three practices under their belt, new head coach Brian Agler is still trying to get everyone acclimated to his system. But he did articulate that each rookie had "their shining moments in practice."
As training camp continues, the newcomers vying for a spot on the final roster, will focus on continuously standing out. If some of these rookies are able to maintain that ability, it will heighten their chances of fulfilling a dream: making the Sparks' final roster.