(Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Lauren Cox has signed her qualifying offer to return to the Los Angeles Sparks, the team announced Tuesday, as first reported by Just Women’s Sports.

The 6-foot-4 forward appeared in 15 games for the Sparks last season, averaging 3.5 points and 3.7 rebounds in a career-high 14 minutes per game. Cox also tallied single-game career highs in scoring, rebounding and minutes for the 12-20 Sparks.

The Indiana Fever selected Cox as the No. 3 overall pick out of Baylor in the 2020 WNBA Draft. She saw action in 14 of the Fever’s 22 games during her rookie season, averaging 3.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in 13 minutes per game. Cox played in 11 of 16 games in 2021 before getting waived by the Fever mid-season and signing with the Sparks on June 30.

After a dominant career at Baylor, Cox has the potential to be an effective scorer, rebounder and passer for the Sparks as they look to rebound a losing season. Cox’s defensive IQ is a highly appealing aspect of her game that fits well with their defensive schemes.

The Sparks will enter 2022 with much of their roster intact. Nneka Ogwumike, Chiney Ogwumike, Erica Wheeler, Amanda Zahui B., Kristi Toliver, Brittney Sykes, Jasmine Walker and Arella Guirantes are all under contract for the upcoming season. Gabby Williams should also suit up for the Sparks after the team acquired in a trade with the the Chicago Sky last May and signed her to a contract extension. Williams missed all of the 2021 season due to commitments with the French national team.

Los Angeles has also extended a qualifying offer to third-year point guard Te’a Cooper.

Rachel Galligan is a basketball analyst at Just Women’s Sports. A former professional basketball player and collegiate coach, she also contributes to Winsidr. Follow Rachel on Twitter @RachGall.