WASHINGTON, D.C. – Washington Mystics forward LaToya Sanders announced her retirement from the WNBA. Sanders last played for the Mystics during the team’s 2019 Championship season and sat out the 2020 season taking place in the WNBA bubble. Sanders will join Monumental Sports & Entertainment Player Development group.
“LaToya has meant so much to our success and championship culture. As one of the premier defensive players in the WNBA, she set a tone for our growth, improvement, and maturity as a team over the past several years,” said General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault. “She has had to work so hard on and off the court to be physically ready to play each game. I think only her husband Byron, our staff, and her teammates can really appreciate what she has done to be prepared each and every day and she has been a shining example for what it’s like to be a true professional.”
“While we are sad that she is retiring as a player, we are thrilled that she is beginning the next phase of her professional life as a member of our staff,” continued Thibault. “She will continue to be a great mentor for her former teammates as part of our on-court player development, but will also join our off court efforts in the areas of community relations, social justice initiatives, youth programs, and marketing, among others. We look forward to LaToya continuing to make her mark with the Mystics family.”
In five seasons with Washington, Sanders has averaged 7.2 points and 5.9 rebounds in 89 total games.
“I am excited for the next chapter and I am grateful to Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Coach T and the entire staff for this opportunity,” said Sanders. “After sitting out the 2020 season and speaking to my family, I felt that retirement was the best option for me, and I look forward to helping our players develop on and off the court.”
Washington originally acquired Sanders prior to the 2012 season. Due to her overseas commitment, Washington kept her rights until she was able to join the team in 2015, proving to be instrumental to the team’s success. During Washington’s championship season, she averaged 6.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and started every regular season and playoffs games. She has set numerous milestones with Washington, including recording 48 blocks in a season in 2015 (second in franchise history for the most blocks in a single season) and shooting .607 from the field during the 2018 season, the highest percentage in franchise history.
An alum of the University of North Carolina, Sanders was selected in the first round (13th overall) by the Phoenix Mercury during the 2008 WNBA draft. She finished that season ranked fifth in block shots (1.52) and first in blocks per 40 minutes (4.66). Sanders spent the 2009 season on the roster of the Minnesota Lynx where she saw action in 17 games. In 2011, as a member of the Los Angeles Sparks, Sanders averaged career highs in field goal (.473) and free throw (.889) percentage.