Los Angeles Sparks Draft Zia Cooke 10th Overall in the 2023 WNBA Draft
May 18, 2023
The Los Angeles Sparks selected Zia Cooke out of South Carolina with the 10th overall pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm.
“We are thrilled to add Zia to a growing list of quality players on and off the court,” said Sparks CAO and GM Karen Bryant. “In evaluating Zia, there are so many aspects of her game coupled with intangibles that made her an obvious choice with the 10th pick.”
The 5-9, Toledo native played in 137 games (all starts) for the Gamecocks, holding averages of 13.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 0.9 steals. The Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard of the Year shot 39.0 percent from the field, including 34.0% from beyond the arc. She finished her college career fifth in school history in three-point field goals (196) and eighth in school history in points (1,845). Cooke is the first player from South Carolina that has been drafted by the Los Angeles Sparks.
“Zia is a winner and a national champion,” said Miller. “She was the best two-way player available and can impact the game at both the offensive and defensive ends. She is an outstanding scorer at multiple levels and showed the ability to be a defensive stopper for the Gamecocks.”
In the second round, with the 14th overall pick the Sparks selected Shaneice Swain out of Australia.
“A priority for us in this draft was to acquire young players that we could develop in our system,” said Bryant. “Our staff was really impressed with Shaneice’s skillset, and we think her upside is high.”
The 5-9 guard played in 18 games (13 starts) in the WNBL 2022-2023 season with the UC Capitals, averaging 14.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. She shot 40.9% from the field, 36.2% from the three-point line and 63% from the free-throw line. Swain played in the Nike Hoops Summit this past Saturday, in which she led Team World with 19 points and shot 42.9% from the field and 37.5% from the three-point range. She also tallied four rebounds, 2 assists, and one block. Swain is the first player that the Los Angeles Sparks have drafted out of Australia.
“Swain is a 19-year-old crafty guard that has a tremendous future as both a play maker and a scorer,” said Miller. “Her youth and ceiling excite us for the future.”
With their final pick of the 2023 WNBA Draft, the Sparks selected Monika Czinano out of the University of Iowa.
“After our first two picks, we focused on adding to our post core and we were excited Monika was available,” said Bryant. “We love her toughness and efficiency.”
The 6-3 forward played in 162 total games for the Gamecocks, averaging 14.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game and scored 2,413 points over the course of her five-year career with the Hawkeyes.
“Monika is one of the most efficient post players in all of college basketball,” said Miller. “She provides us additional depth to our talented post group.”
She had a breakout junior season, where she averaged 21.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Czinano led the nation in field-goal percentage, shooting 67.9%. In her fifth and final season with the Hawkeyes, the four-time All-Big Ten selection led her team to the NCAA Championship as a number two seed, where she averaged 16.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Czinano is the first player from Iowa to be drafted by the Sparks and the 15th Hawkeye to be drafted into the WNBA.
The Sparks tip-off the 2023 WNBA season on May 19 at Crypto.com Arena against the Phoenix Mercury at 8pm PST on ESPN.