Basketballer with Kenyan roots joins WNBA side

Olivia's dad Sebastian Ododa represented Kenya at the 1987 All African Games

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 30: Olivia Nelson-Ododa #20 of the UConn Huskies poses during media day at 2022 NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four at the Minneapolis Convention Center on March 30, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Olivia Nelson-Ododa, the daughter of former Kenya Morans player Sebastian Ododa has been picked by Los Angeles Sparks to play in Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

Ododa, an All-BIG EAST First Team Selection in 2022, played in 133 total games for the Huskies, holding career averages of 9.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.

The 6-foot-5 center from Lansing, Michigan helped lead University of Connecticut (UConn) to four consecutive final fours in her collegiate career.

“Olivia Nelson-Ododa was a contributor on both ends of the floor for a UConn program that went to four consecutive Final Fours in her tenure,” General Manager/Head Coach Derek Fisher said, adding: “We’re excited to see how her size, length, rebounding, and passing ability can translate at the next level.”

Nelson-Ododa was also named the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2020-21. She won bronze with USA in 2016 FIBA U17 World championship and gold in 2018 FIBA Americas U-18 championship.

Nelson-Ododa will join fellow UConn alum Katie Lou Samuelson, who signed with Los Angeles this offseason.

Founded in 1996, the Los Angeles Sparks are one of three original franchises in the WNBA. The Sparks have won three WNBA Championships (2001, 2002, 2016), qualified for the playoffs in 20 of their 25 seasons and remain the only active team in the league to win back-to-back titles.

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