WNBA player Katie Lou Samuelson and her fiancé Devin Cannady announced on Friday that they are expecting their first child.

“Life is full of surprises and 2023 surprised us in the best way possible!” wrote Samuelson. “We can’t wait to welcome the newest member of our family! This is a little earlier than we planned on announcing but we wanted to make sure this was our story to share with you all.

“Here’s to a year full of love, growth and happiness!”

A number of supportive messages flowed in, with Nneka Ogwumike writing that “an early announcement means more love along the way.”

New Sparks teammate Dearica Hamby and recent WNBA retiree Sue Bird offered their congratulations. UConn’s Paige Bueckers called attention to the child’s future basketball career.

“Baby has GREAT shooting in the genes,” she wrote.

Karlie Samuelson, Katie’s sister, wrote that she is “ready for duty.”

“Auntie Karlie activated,” she added on Twitter.

Samuelson and Cannady were engaged last February. Cannady is a NBA G-League player who has also spent time with the NBA’s Orlando Magic. He has been publicly supportive of longtime partner Samuelson, posting an encouraging message to his Instagram after Samuelson was unable to join the USA 3×3 basketball team for the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.

“I’m proud of the person you are and I know you’ll be back stronger than ever when this opportunity presents itself again in 3 years,” Cannady wrote.

A former UConn standout and NCAA champion, Samuelson spent last season playing for the Los Angeles Sparks after being traded from Seattle. She is remains under contract with the Sparks for the 2023 season.

When Liz Cambage tied the game with a turnaround 9-footer and headed to the free-throw line with 15.1 seconds left in the Sparks’ home opener against the Minnesota Lynx, it appeared she may be the hero in her Crypto.com Arena debut. The 6-foot-8 Aussie missed the freebie, however, to keep the score deadlocked.

On the ensuing possession, Kayle McBride completed a three-point play with 2.1 seconds remaining after getting fouled on a reverse layup. It proved to be the game-winner, as Jordin Canada missed a desperation 3-pointer with time expiring and the Sparks lost their third straight game, 87-84.

McBride, who landed in Los Angeles from Turkey around 2 p.m. on Monday, poured in a game-high 24 points for the Lynx, hitting four of seven 3-pointers she attempted. Fifteen of the guard’s points came in the first quarter, including nine in the final 50.1 seconds of the frame.

Sparks guard Katie Lou Samuelson also came a long way to make her 2022 WNBA season debut Tuesday night, enduring an eight-hour bus ride Friday and a 12-plus-hour flight on Saturday to return from overseas. After winning the Spanish league championship last Thursday, Samuelson tied her career high with three 3-pointers made for Los Angeles on Tuesday.

The former fourth overall draft pick first entered the game at the 5:33 mark of the first quarter, promptly nailing back-to-back 3s and drawing an offensive foul by taking an elbow to her chin.

“For them to make that commitment and play right off the plane, that’s remarkable,” Nneka Ogwumike said of McBride and Samuelson. “And not just play, show out. They both hooped tonight.”

Ogwumike showed out herself, leading L.A. with a season-high 22 points on 9-for-16 shooting from the floor, along with eight rebounds, three assists and zero turnovers.

In the paint, Cambage had her hands full with Minnesota center Sylvia Fowles, who contributed 20 points and 12 rebounds in a game-high 39 minutes before fouling out. Cambage, limited to just 25 minutes due to foul trouble, finished with 12 points, seven boards, three assists and three blocks.

After the Lynx went ahead 51-44 with 6:20 to go in the third, Lexie Brown led the Sparks on an 11-2 run to give them a 55-53 advantage. Making her home debut, Brown sank three 3-pointers and recorded an assist, a block and a steal in the last 5:44 of the quarter. The 27-year-old also forced another Lynx turnover by deflecting McBride’s dribble out of bounds off the Minnesota guard.

Brown hit four of six 3-pointers Tuesday night, with her most important shot of the night evening the score at 82 with 53.3 seconds left in the game.

“My confidence is through the roof,” said Brown, who played for the Lynx from 2019-20.

Two other Sparks newcomers provided boosts in their home debuts. Chennedy Carter, after scoring a combined two points on 1-for-12 shooting in the previous two contests, picked up eight points in 11 minutes, going 4-for-5 from the floor. Jordin Canada, meanwhile, contributed eight points, six assists and three steals.

“My favorite part about playing (at Crypto.com Arena) is seeing new teammates play here for the first time on the Sparks,” Ogwumike said. “It’s intoxicating. We have to honor that and protect home court.”

The Sparks will have to wait until next Wednesday’s matchup with the Phoenix Mercury to get their first win at home, rebranded as Crypto.com Arena from the Staples Center late last year.

In the meantime, the Sparks have their latest disappointing result to digest: a loss to previously winless Minnesota, who got 64 of its 87 points from three players (McBride, Fowles and Moriah Jefferson).

Joshua Fischman is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering Angel City FC and the Los Angeles Sparks. He has covered basketball for Vantage Sports and Hoops Rumors and served as co-host of “On the NBA Beat” podcast. Joshua received his master’s in Sports Media from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter @JJTheJuggernaut.

Katie Lou Samuelson is engaged to NBA player Devin Cannady, with the WNBA star posting the news to her Twitter Saturday.

The social media post captioned “2-4-22” features four photos, including Cannady getting down on one knee.

Cannady, who most recently played for the Orlando Magic during the 2020-2021 season, has been publicly supportive of long-time partner Samuelson, posting an encouraging message to his Instagram after Samuelson was unable to join the USA 3×3 basketball team for the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.

“I’m proud of the person you are and I know you’ll be back stronger than ever when this opportunity presents itself again in 3 years,” wrote Cannady.

Samuelson’s engagement adds to an already eventful off-season with the 24-year-old reportedly traded from the Seattle Storm to the Los Angeles Sparks.

The Sparks will be Samuelson’s fourth team in as many seasons after being selected fourth overall by the Chicago Sky in the 2019 WNBA Draft. The Forward was then traded to Dallas before landing in Seattle for the 2021 season.

Samuelson finished the Storm’s 2021 campaign averaging 7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.

The famed Chi-League returned over the weekend, and this time with a women’s bracket.

Dreamville and Wilson teamed up to bring the pro-am league back to Chicago following a four-year hiatus. Aimed at building bonds with the Chicago basketball community in multiple ways, Chi-League introduced a women’s event this year with four 10-player teams.

“Basketball is such a big part of Chicago,” said former WNBA player Dev Peters, who coached Team Truth in the women’s bracket Sunday. “Chi-League has always been really big out here so to finally bring it back and have women participate – it’s huge. Women in Chicago are out here killing it too, so to have that added aspect and to be able to put them on that same platform is really big.”

In addition to the games, participants attended a “Dinner of Influence” hosted by Wilson and The Winning Edge on Friday. The event brought together a diverse cohort of current and former student-athletes for workforce training. Players also had the opportunity to interact with Wilson and Dreamville employees through mentorship and professional development activities in the weeks leading up to the tournament.

Over the weekend, Wilson and Dreamville launched a series of youth clinics, where young players will learn from local basketball trainers and Chi-League coaches every Saturday of the league.

The first game of the women’s bracket on Sunday between Whitney Young Legends and Team Truth went down to the wire. Tied at 60 with 43 seconds left, Whitney Young Legends took the lead on a clutch 3-pointer from Kiana Johnson and won 64-60.

In the second game, Team THK Crew dominated “ASWBL” Ana Sierra Women’s Basketball League. Four players scored in double figures to lead Team THK Crew to a 66-41 victory.

“Being from the Midwest and playing AAU in Chicago, I always knew about the Chi-League and I also know how competitive and talented the hoop scene is in Chicago. So for the Chi-League to be back, I think it’s huge,” said Taya Reimer, a professional player currently competing overseas. “Even more so to have the women’s division because it is not common to find really strong women’s pro-ams the way you find men’s ones. So I am really happy to be a part of it not only working for Wilson as an intern but also to be able to play in it as well for team THK Crew.”

In between the games, Whitney Young Legends’ Chanise Jenkins won the 3-point contest for the women’s division.

“With it being the 25th anniversary of the WNBA, I think it’s amazing that the Chi-League was brought back and provided a platform for women in the city of Chicago,” said WNBA player Linnae Harper, who appeared in one game for the Minnesota Lynx this season. “It’s amazing to see a lot of talented women on and off the court putting on for the city.”