Yang Liwei signs with Sparks after team loses Stephanie Talbot for 2023 WNBA season

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Yang Liwei

Yang Liwei and the Los Angeles Sparks have agreed to terms on a deal after recently signed guard Stephanie Talbot tore her ACL while playing overseas in Australia.

According to Richard Cohen of Her Hoops Stats, Yang’s deal with Los Angeles is an unprotected contract for two years. She will make $62,285 in 2023 and $64,154 in 2024. If she is cut before the start of the 2023 season, which is on May 19, her contract figure won’t count against the Sparks’ salary cap.

Yang was a part of the Chinese National Team that recently took second place in the 2022 World Cup. She averaged 9.3 points, 3.9 assists and 1.6 rebounds in eight games during the tournament. In her most recent stint with Inner Mongolia, Yang averaged 13.5 points, 5.2 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 19 games.

“She will bring us tremendous energy and enthusiasm on the court,” Sparks coach Curt Miller said in a statement. “She is a terrific leader on the Chinese National Team and we look forward to that leadership impacting our locker room.”

Brining in Yang will help bolster a Sparks backcourt that struggled to hit from beyond the arc in 2022. The team was hoping Talbot would be a part of the solution when the team signed her to a two-year deal three weeks ago.

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“Steph is a versatile wing with great length and impacts both ends of the court with her energy and effort,” said Head Coach Curt Miller.  “She is an outstanding perimeter shooter which will help us with floor spacing and offensive schemes.”