Tangible improvements garner rewards. For assistant coach Latricia Trammell, that means having her contract with the Los Angeles Sparks renewed.
Trammell joined the Sparks coaching staff in the Derek Fisher era and, in 2019 and 2020, brought the best out of the team’s defense to keep it contending with the increasingly deep and versatile squads of the WNBA.
The Sparks consider her a “defensive tactician” and nowhere did that reputation manifest greater than in the elevation of Candace Parker who, as a 13-year WNBA veteran in 2020, won her first Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) award courtesy of her league-leading 9.7 rebounds per game. Although Parker maintained her scoring efficiency, averaging 14.7 points per game, she stood out most on the defensive end of the floor — also averaging 1.2 steals and a league-eighth-ranked 1.2 blocks per game.
“Coach T has been huge in our team’s development as well as my development defensively,” Parker said of her assistant coach after winning the DPOY award.
Trammell’s defense ranked third in the league in 2020, with a defensive rating of 98.8, behind the top-ranked Seattle Storm (93.3) and Las Vegas Aces (97.2).
Upon learning her contract had been renewed, Trammell said:
I’m excited to continue my coaching career with the Sparks and [head coach Derek] Fisher. I’m blessed to work with some of the greatest athletes in the world and an amazing staff here in LA. I’d like to thank our ownership group, front office and Sparks fans for their support.
Prior to working with the Sparks, Trammell was an assistant coach for one season with the San Antonio Stars (2017) and coached collegiately in both assistant and head coaching roles where she led Oklahoma City University to NAIA Division I national titles in 2014 and 2015. As head coach of the program, Trammell finished with an 85-10 record across three seasons.
In spite of her league-leading rebounds and Defensive Player of the Year award, Parker, curiously, was snubbed for a spot on either the First or Second WNBA All-Defensive Teams in 2020. This is no reflection on Parker, though — or Trammell! Brittney Sykes, in her first season with the team, earned a place on the All-Defensive Second Team. Her 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game may not sit atop stat charts, but Sykes’ hustle and commitment to the team’s defense was unmatched.
“For the first time, second never felt so good!” Sykes said of her All-Defensive Second Team nod. “I set a goal for myself this season: make a defensive team or win Defensive Player of the Year and I did just that. Second Team doesn’t mean the first to lose, it means I have more to prove. Thank you to my support system, my coaches and teammates for their belief and encouragement. I’m honored and grateful to be recognized with other great defenders.”
Highlights: The woman behind the Sparks’ killer defense celebrates CP3 & Slim
When first hired by the Sparks for the 2019 season, head coach Derek Fisher said, “Latricia has a proven track record of developing players and winning titles at several levels of women’s basketball. Her expertise will be instrumental to the Sparks.”
Now, the tangible evidence of her defensive mind live out in the performances of the team and individual players. Might Trammell field head-coaching offers sooner than later?