Report: Te'a Cooper Signs Qualifying Offer, Will Return to LA Sparks for 2022 Season

Doric SamJanuary 21, 2022

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 19:  Te'a Cooper #2 of the Los Angeles Sparks shoots a free throw against the Dallas Wings on September 19, 2021 at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Sparks are reportedly retaining one of their most popular players.

Khristina Williams of Girls Talk Sports TV reported Thursday that guard Te'a Cooper has signed her qualifying offer to remain with the team for the 2022 season. Cooper has spent the first two seasons of her WNBA career in Los Angeles.

Cooper was originally selected by the Phoenix Mercury with the 18th pick in the 2020 draft, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced Phoenix to cut some of its players, and Cooper was among those to be waived by the team prior to the start of the bubble. She signed with the Sparks as a rookie free agent.

In 51 career games with 16 starts, Cooper has averaged 8.2 points in 20.1 minutes. She improved her production in her sophomore season in 2021 with 9.1 points and 1.4 assists in 31 appearances.

"Te'a took on a bigger role for us last season and showed significant growth on both ends of the floor," Sparks head coach Derek Fisher said, per Mirjam Swanson of the Los Angeles Daily News.

"Her ability to disrupt the game defensively as well as attack the basket on the offensive end will be important for us moving forward," Fisher added. "We're confident she'll continue to elevate her game and be an impact player in this league."

The Sparks went 12-20 last season and failed to make the playoffs. Los Angeles lost star forward Candace Parker, who signed with the Chicago Sky and led them to the title, in the offseason and dealt with injuries to key players throughout the year.