Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The Los Angeles Sparks opened training camp at Galen Center with eight players beginning to compete for the 12 spots on the regular-season roster and seven players absent as they fulfilled their overseas obligations.

Forward Nneka Ogwumike, centers Jantel Lavender, Jennifer Hamson and Ann Wauters, guards Chelsea Gray and Kristi Toliver, and guard-forward Alana Beard missed the Sunday practice because of their overseas obligations, according to Stacey Mitch, the Sparks director of communications.

They will report to training camp when the seasons of their other teams are completed, Mitch said.

Many WNBA players play abroad during the customary basketball season.

The Sparks will play their lone preseason game in Southern California May 7 against the Atlanta Dream at Pasadena City College.

The team will open its 20th season May 15 by playing host to the Seattle Storm at Staples Center in the professional debut of center Breanna Stewart, the two-time recipient of the Wooden Award as the nation’s top college player as she helped lead Connecticut to four consecutive NCAA championships.

After finishing fourth in the WNBA’s six-team Western Conference with a 14-20 record and losing in the Western Conference semifinals in 2015, the Sparks acquired Gray, Wauters, guards Essence Carson, and Riquna Williams, and forwards Eugenia Belyakova and Jelena Dubljevic in the off-season.

The Sparks chose Florida Gulf Coast guard Whitney Knight and Syracuse guard Brianna Butler in the second round of the WNBA draft and Washington forward Talia Walton in the third round.

The team traded its first-round draft choice, George Washington forward Jonquel Jones, to the Connecticut Sun, along with a 2016 second-round draft choice in exchange for Gray, two second-round choices in 2016 and a first-round choice in 2017.

—Staff and wire reports

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