February 5, 2013 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - Los Angeles Sparks
LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Sparks have signed free agent guard Lindsey Harding to a multi-year contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Penny Toler. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"I am really excited about Lindsey joining the Sparks family," said Toler. "She is a dynamic player who will add to our already explosive backcourt. Lindsey will be our starting point guard who will lead us to our next WNBA Championship."
A 5-8 guard, Harding is a six-year WNBA veteran who owns career averages of 11.2 points, 4.2 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 180 games (163 starts) played, most recently with the Atlanta Dream (2011,2012). She reunites with former Duke and Mystics teammate, guard/forward Alana Beard, as the second Blue Devil alum on the Sparks roster.
"I want to thank the owners, coaches, players, and most of all the wonderful Atlanta Dream fans for all of their support while making my time in Atlanta memorable," said Harding. "Now I'm looking forward to playing for the Los Angeles Sparks and their enthusiastic fans, another organization dedicated to excellence and winning. I'm also thrilled to once-again be coached by Coach Ross while playing alongside an ensemble of talented players, including my college and former Mystics teammate Alana Beard."
Harding played in all 68 games, including 65 starts, during her two seasons in Atlanta. Last season she averaged 12.3 points, a team-high 4.5 assists and lead the Dream in free-throw percentage at a career-best 81.8 percent (90-of-110). During her first season in Atlanta, Harding set career-highs in assists (4.8 apg) and field goal percentage (.455), while leading the team in minutes (30.5 mpg). Prior to Atlanta, she spent two seasons with the Washington Mystics where she started all 68 games. In 2010, she earned her first WNBA All-Star selection en route to leading Washington to the Eastern Conference regular season title. During her first season with the Mystics (2009), she averaged a career-high 12.8 points and team-high 4.5 assists while leading the league in total minutes played (1194) and minutes per game (35.1).
Originally selected as No. 1 overall pick by Phoenix in the 2007 WNBA Draft, she was traded to Minnesota where she played two seasons (2007, 2008) and was a member of the 2007 WNBA All-Rookie Team.
"We're thrilled about the addition of Lindsey Harding, it's another bold and positive step for the Sparks," said head coach Carol Ross. "Lindsey is a talented, dynamic point guard built for speed and aggression. She will add to an already exciting guard tandem of Kristi Toliver and Alana Beard."
During her collegiate career at Duke, Harding aided the Blue Devils to a 128-12 (.914) record and four NCAA Tournament appearances. In 2007, she was named the Naismith National Player of the Year, the inaugural WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year and on Jan. 20 became Duke's second women's basketball player to have her number (10) retired. The two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Harding is only the second women's basketball player in school history to register over 1,000 points, 500 assists and rebounds and 250 steals.
Sparks individual tickets will go on sale on Thursday, April 15 and start at $15. Season and group ticket plans, in all lower-bowl sections of STAPLES Center, are available now by calling 877-44-SPARKS (772757) or visiting LASparks.com.