Move over Wanda Guyton, you’ve got company.
The Charlotte Sting signed former USF forward Ezria Parsons to a WNBA contract as a free agent Monday. Parsons joins Guyton as only the second player in USF women’s basketball history to join the WNBA ranks.
Parsons has a chance to join the Sting in hopes of providing depth to a team that has missed the playoffs the past two seasons. Charlotte was awarded the franchise in 1996 and has made the playoffs in six of its eight years of existence, including a trip to the WNBA Finals in 2001.
“This is a great opportunity for Ezria because she has aspirations of playing at the next level,” coach Jose Fernandez said. “Not many people get that shot, and she has that opportunity.”
Parsons ended her college career on a high note by helping the Bulls reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. USF finished with a 19-12 record, 9-7 record in the Big East, and captured a No. 9 seed in the Bridgeport Region.
“I was surprised to get the call because I wasn’t thinking about playing in the WNBA,” Parsons said. “I had planned on going overseas and was thankful for the opportunity (to play in the WNBA).”
She averaged 8.9 points per game in her senior season and led USF in rebounding with 8.5 per game. The parallels with Guyton continued for Parsons as she became the first player since Guyton to lead the Bulls in rebounding in consecutive seasons.
“Parsons is looked as a Dennis Rodman type of player that rebounds, plays defense and does the little things on the court,” Fernandez said. “She might not be the most talented player, but she works hard and knows the game.”
Charlotte head coach Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues, who played point guard in the NBA for the Charlotte Hornets, made a trip to USF this season to do a little scouting. While impressed with junior forward Jessica Dickson, Bogues also had the opportunity to see Parsons.
Sting General Manager Trudi Lacey knows about the talent in the USF program because she was once a major influence on the program. Lacey was the head coach of the Bulls’ program from 1988-96 and plucked Parsons from the team.
“Coach Trudi came to a couple of games this season to watch me,” Parsons said. “And they told me they liked my rebounding, defense and athleticism and thought I had a chance to make the team.”
The signing of Parsons is a sign that Lacey liked what she saw, and the Sting decided to take a chance. Now it’s up to Parsons to prove her talent and earn a spot on the roster for this season.
“It feels good to be here, because not a lot of people get an opportunity like this,” Parsons said. “They saw something in me that they liked, because they could have picked someone else that was taller or playing at a bigger college, but they chose me, so I’m just glad to have the opportunity.”