April 26, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Two members of the 2011-12 Michigan State women's basketball team - Lykendra Johnson and Porsche Poole - signed WNBA training camp contracts this week. Johnson will head to her hometown of Chicago to tryout with the Sky, while Poole signed a contract with the defending champion Minnesota Lynx.
In total, four former Spartans will be in WNBA training camps, as Kalisha Keane signed a training camp contract with the San Antonio Silver Stars in February and Brittney Thomas inked a deal with the Phoenix Mercury earlier this month.
"Coach Chapman and the Chicago Sky could not have selected a better free agent to attend their training camp," said Spartan head coach Suzy Merchant. "Lykendra epitomizes what Coach Chapman has built a career on; defense and rebounding. The fact that her opportunity has come in her home town makes it even a better fit both on and off the court. What Lykendra has accomplished here as a Spartan is incredible and to watch her fight through adversity and triumph is what will impress the WNBA every time she steps foot on the court. There is no doubt in my mind that the Sky organization will appreciate her talents and tenacity."
Johnson finished her prolific Spartan career as one of the top players in program history statistically. She became the second Spartan and 13th Big Ten player to record 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career, while being one of only four to also add at least 200 steals and 100 blocks to that tally. Among the MSU all-time leaders, Johnson was second in rebounds (1,018; also 11th in the Big Ten) and offensive rebounds (405), third in blocks (147), fourth in steals (224), sixth in double-doubles (27) and games started (116), eighth in games played (131), 10th in minutes (3,361) and 11th in points (1,242).
A two-time captain, Johnson led MSU and was second in the Big Ten this season in both rebounds (8.6 a game) and double-doubles (10). She also led the team and was top-10 in the conference with 57 steals and 42 blocks, while ranking second on MSU in points with 10.8. Just the sixth Spartan to be a four-time All-Big Ten selection, Johnson was picked to the second team by the media in March.
"I'm just thrilled for Porsche to have the opportunity to attend Minnesota Lynx training camp," said Merchant. "There is nobody who sleeps, eats, and breathes basketball in our program more than Porsche. Her ability to score and create as a point guard or off guard is truly special. To see her become a leader and backbone of our team this season was enjoyable and I'm anxious to watch her carry that over to the WNBA. I couldn't be prouder of her and it is so exciting to watch the beginning of her dreams come true."
Poole has seen drastic improvements throughout her Spartan career. The Canton, Ohio, native, improved her scoring output in each of her four collegiate seasons, capped by a team-high 13.4 points this season, which ranked 14th in the Big Ten. Her +7.3 increase from her junior season was fourth in the conference and the seventh largest in MSU history. In addition to her point increase, she posted career highs in rebounds, assists and steals. Her 3.4 assist average was second on the team and 12th in the league. Her play this season earned her all-conference honors for the first time in her career, being selected to the second team by the Big Ten coaches.