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Reed High alum Gabby Williams dealt to Sparks after being suspended by Sky

Gabby Williams
Gabby Williams, who starred at UConn for four season, was traded from the WNBA's Sky to the Sparks. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Gabby Williams, who starred for Reed High before winning a pair of national championships at UConn, was traded Sunday from the Chicago Sky to the Los Angeles Sparks.

It was the first trade of the WNBA season and comes after the Sky had suspended Williams for the season. In exchange for Williams, Chicago obtained Stephanie Watts, the No. 10 pick in the 2022 draft and the rights to Leonie Fiebich.

The Sky had placed Williams on the full-season suspended list a couple of days earlier, a move that cannot be reversed even post-trade, so Williams won't play in the WNBA this season and must wait to make her Sparks debut. Chicago suspended Williams as part of a riff over Williams potentially playing in France in EuroBasket Women this summer. She also might play for the French national team in the Olympics, which begin in 10 weeks.

While the Sky has other players who will leave the organization to play in the Olympics for their national team, those players began the season in Chicago. Williams did not, which led to the team putting her on the suspended list. Sky head coach and general manager James Wade told the media last week the team was unaware of Williams' international commitments until late in the process and there was no agreement between the two sides on her schedule for the 2021 season.

"We needed our group of 11," Wade said. "We have players like Stefanie (Dolson), who's going to leave for the national team, and Astou (Ndour), who's going to leave for the national team, and they made a point of priority to be here. And so that was our whole thing is that we needed them here. We have a season that we feel can be special, and we didn't want to put our players behind the eight ball because we only start the season with eight or nine when we didn't have to."

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the WNBA is playing a shortened 2021 season. Teams will play a 32-game season that includes two-game mini-series to reduce travel. The season begins Friday and runs through Sept. 19 with a break from July 12-Aug. 14 for the Olympics.

Williams will be eligible to play for Los Angeles in the 2022 season. The 24-year-old Williams was the No. 4 pick in the 2018 draft by Chicago. She's largely come off the bench for the Sky. In 89 games (36 starts), Williams has averaged 6.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game. She's made 42.4 percent of her shots, including 24.8 percent from three, and 73 percent of her free throws.

Williams grew up in Northern Nevada but her mother is of French descent and she holds French-American citizenship, which would enable her to play for the French national team in international competitions. Williams recently played in Hungary but returned to the United States last week. She played for Sopron Basket in Hungary and averaged 13.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists while earning EuroLeague Defensive Player of the Year honors. She was named first-team All-EuroLeague.

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