Finding a Spark: Karlie Samuelson recalls WNBA journey | Sports

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Karlie Samuelson lives and works in Downtown Los Angeles. It is a commute that is short and sweet. It is also one that she is not very unaccustomed to, nor does she take for granted. So is life for a globetrotter and current starting shooting guard for the Sparks. No wonder she takes her down time seriously.

“What do I like to do for fun here when I am not playing basketball? I like to chill at home,” she said. “I usually travel so much. This is my seventh year overseas in addition to the WNBA and being with the Sparks. Italy. Belgium. Three years in Spain. Last year I was in Australia, and right now it is the off-season for the Sparks and I have a break from a team in London I play for.

“I have experienced so much, and it has been really fun.”

Born in Fullerton, Samuelson was raised in Huntington Beach. She was a hoops standout first at Edison High School and later at Mater Dei. Soon thereafter she ventured up north for college.

“In Orange County I love to go to the beach — Huntington and Newport are my favorites,” she said. “All my family is in the area there, and there are a lot of basketball opportunities, too.”  

As a student-athlete at Stanford University, the 6-0 Samuelson joined her older sister, Bonnie, with the Cardinal program. For four years, Karlie was a sharpshooter on the court, and she excelled in biology in the classroom.

She began and finished her career at Palo Alto with a trip to the NCAA Final Four. As a senior she was named to the All-Tournament Regional Team. But degree in hand in 2017, she was bypassed in that year’s WNBA Draft.  

Six years later, her effort and perseverance has not stopped. She has endured — and enjoyed — a roller coaster career, including those multiple stops overseas and time with the Dallas Wings, Seattle Storm and Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA.

In LA, she has had three different stints with her hometown team. Just don’t ask Samuelson if she initially knew a lot about the Sparks organization despite growing up less than an hour from her current workplace.

“Growing up, I honestly did not watch or follow the Sparks or the WNBA much. I wish now that I had,” said the 28-year-old veteran of four WNBA campaigns with a smile. “That has changed tremendously over the years in my opinion in terms of kids, younger players, following our league more closely now. … It was later, when I was in college, that I paid more attention to it. Even when I got invited to a Sparks camp for the first time, I had not seen too many Sparks games.

“I don’t think that was really uncommon then. It is way better now. The way our games are more accessible now on TV is different than years ago. There is a lot more exposure, though there is also room to grow.”

Last year, she averaged 7.7 points, three rebounds and two assists with LA. The numbers…

Read More: Finding a Spark: Karlie Samuelson recalls WNBA journey | Sports 2023-11-20 08:15:00

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