“I had my eye on Nicky for a while,” Mystics General Manager and Coach Trudi Lacey said. “She is a tireless worker. She’s really improved since she came into the league. She can defend in the low post and away from the basket. She runs the floor extremely well.”
Anosike, a 6-foot-4 center, started 30 games for Minnesota last season, averaging 9.2 points and 6.8 rebounds a game. She ranks in the top 10 in the WNBA in several statistical categories: rebounding, blocks (1.0), steals (2.0) and free throws and attempts.
The addition of Anosike bolsters the Mystics’ thin front court. Other than all-star forward Crystal Langhorne and 13-year veteran Chasity Melvin, Washington has little experience at the forward and center positions.
Jacinta Monroe, a 6-5 center, played in 17 games for the Mystics last season, averaging less than seven minutes a game. Angel Robinson, a 6-5 forward, hasn’t played in a WNBA game. Washington also added 6-3 Megan Frazee and 6-3 Bernice Mosby, who spent three years with the Mystics, to their training camp roster on Saturday
Lacey, who said Anosike will complement Langhorne in the front court, was happy with the deal.
“I was pleased to get a player and just give up a pick,” she said.
The former Tennessee standout, a 2009 all-star, does come with a history.
Anosike, who won back-to-back national titles with the Lady Vols, has had knee problems the past two seasons. She has undergone surgery on her left and right knees to repair torn meniscus. She also was suspended by Minnesota the final three games of last season after refusing to join the team for its final road trip.
Asked about the incident, Lacey said: “There’s two sides to every story. I feel very comfortable with my ability to coach Nicky. She still has a lot of upside. It will be a matter of Nicky and I building a relationship.”
As Monday’s WNBA draft approaches, Lacey could have more deals in the works.
“I haven’t ruled out making a move prior to the draft and draft day,” Lacey said. “We are being intentional and deliberate who we bring in.”