Érika de Souza

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Érika de Souza
Erika de Souza cropped.jpg
No. 14 – San Antonio Stars
Position Center
League WNBA
Personal information
Born (1982-03-09) March 9, 1982 (age 35)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Nationality Brazilian
Listed height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight 190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
Playing career 2002–present
Career history
2002 Los Angeles Sparks
2002–2003 MiZo Pécs
2003–2006 UB-Barça
2006–2010 Ros Casares Valencia
2007 Connecticut Sun
20082015 Atlanta Dream
2010–2012 Perfumerías Avenida
2013–2014 Sport Recife
2014–2016 Uninassau/Americana
2015 Adana ASKİ
20152016 Chicago Sky
2016 Flamengo Basketball
2016–present Perfumerías Avenida
2017–present San Antonio Stars
Career highlights and awards
Stats at WNBA.com

Érika Cristina de Souza (born March 9, 1982) is a Brazilian professional women's basketball player for the San Antonio Stars of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).[1]

Biography[edit]

De Souza was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and grew up in poverty with a single mother and three siblings.[2] She began playing basketball at the age of 16 after being encouraged by her mother to try the sport, she also played volleyball, handball, and ran track. Her basketball abilities led to a roster spot on a team from Osasco, where she met future Atlanta Dream teammate Izi Castro Marques.[3]

After winning her first WNBA championship in 2002, de Souza used the money she made during the season to remodel her mother's home.[4] De Souza purchased a bakery in her hometown of Rio de Janeiro for her family to open a business. De Souza's mother died in 2008 following a long battle with cancer.

De Souza is compared to Dennis Rodman in her country due to the fact that they are both basketball players with multiple tattoos, piercings and dyed hair.[5]

WNBA career[edit]

After her first year of playing professional basketball in Spain, de Souza signed with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2002 and would play alongside Lisa Leslie. During the 2002 season, de Souza was a reserve on the Sparks's roster and had very limited playing time but would win her first WNBA championship with the team despite not playing in the finals. De Souza opted to leave the Sparks and play the next five years overseas in Spain and Hungary for higher paying salaries before signing with another WNBA team.

In 2007, de Souza signed with the Connecticut Sun. During the 2007 season with the Sun, de Souza played 34 games with 2 starts.

In 2008, de Souza joined the newly formed Atlanta Dream after being selected in the expansion draft. During the 2008 season, de Souza averaged 9.3 ppg and a career-high 1.7 bpg on the Dream, but after playing 12 games she fractured her lower leg, causing her to miss the rest of the season. The Dream would finish a franchise worst 4-30. Prior to her injury, de Souza set the WNBA record for most rebounds in a quarter in a regular season game loss to the Detroit Shock, where she grabbed 11 of her 18 rebounds in the second quarter.[6][7]

In the 2009 season, de Souza had a breakout year, averaging 11.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 1.2 bpg, being voted as a WNBA all-star for the first time. She played and started in all 34 games and established herself as a low-post scorer, tenacious rebounder and rim-protector. Despite the language barrier at the time, de Souza was still able to fit in with the Dream's style of play and develop a chemistry with her teammates and with the help of fellow Brazilian teammate Izi Castro Marques, she was able to communicate with the other teammates and coaching staff in order to understand English more better.[8] With a healthy de Souza, the Dream finished 18-16; the biggest single-season turn around in WNBA league history after their 4-30 season the year before. The Dream made it to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history but were eliminated in the first round.

In the 2010 season, de Souza averaged 12.4 ppg and 8.3 rpg and grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds in a regular season game against the Minnesota Lynx. De Souza and the Atlanta Dream were championship contenders, with a supporting cast of all-star power forward Sancho Lyttle, rising star Angel McCoughtry and Izi Castro Marques at starting shooting guard averaging a career-high in scoring, the Atlanta Dream made it to the WNBA finals, but were swept by the Seattle Storm.

The Dream would make it back to the WNBA finals once again the following year, but were swept by the Minnesota Lynx. De Souza had averaged a double-double in points and rebounds during the 2011 playoffs.

In the 2013 season, de Souza was voted as a WNBA all-star for the second time in her career, averaging 12.9 ppg, 9.9 rpg, and tied her career-high of 1.7 bpg. De Souza was also named to the WNBA All-Defensive Second team. The Dream made it to the WNBA finals for the third time in four years, making it de Souza's fourth career WNBA Finals appearance, but would lose yet again to the Minnesota Lynx. De Souza would once again average a double-double in points and rebounds during the 2013 playoffs.

In 2014, de Souza re-signed with the Dream and would once again be voted as a WNBA all-star, averaging a career-high 13.8 ppg along with 8.7 rpg and 1.4 bpg. During the regular season, de Souza tied her career-high of 27 points along with 11 rebounds in a win against the Los Angeles Sparks. The Dream finished first place in the Eastern Conference, but were upset in the first round 2-1 to the Chicago Sky.

Midway through the 2015 season on July 27, de Souza was traded from the Dream to the Chicago Sky as part of a three-team trade deal that sent Sylvia Fowles to the Minnesota Lynx and Damiris Dantas and Reshanda Gray to the Dream.[9] Since joining the Sky, de Souza would have a smaller role on the team as she played 17 games with 15 starts and averaged 5.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg. The Sky would make it to the playoffs and lost 2-1 in the first round.

In 2016, de Souza re-signed with the Sky and became a role player on the team's roster, playing 31 games with 18 starts while averaging 5.8 ppg and 5.2 rpg and shot a career-high 75% from the free-throw line.[10] The Sky made it to the playoffs with a 18-16 record and with the WNBA's new playoff format in effect, the Sky were the number 4 seed in the league with a bye to the second round. In the second round elimination game, the Sky defeated the Atlanta Dream to advance to the semifinals (the last round before the WNBA finals). In the semifinals, the Sky were defeated 3-1 by the Los Angeles Sparks who won the championship that year.

On February 1, 2017, de Souza signed with the San Antonio Stars.[11]

Overseas career[edit]

In 2001, de Souza played her first year of professional basketball in Spain. During the 2002-03 WNBA off-season, de Souza played in Hungary for MiZo Pécs. From 2003-2006, de Souza played in Spain once again for UB-Barça, she won the 2005–06 MVP of the Spanish women's league while playing with UB-Barça. From 2006-2010, de Souza played four off-seasons in Spain again for Ros Casares Valencia. From 2010-2012, de Souza played two off-seasons for Perfumerías Avenida Salamaca in Spain.[12] In the 2013-14 off-season, de Souza played in her home country for Sport Recife, a Brazilian sports club. In the 2014-15 off-season played in Brazil once again for Uninassau/Americana. De Souza spent the first portion of the 2015-16 off-season in Turkey playing for Adana ASKİ then returned to Brazil to play for Uninassau/Americana once again for the remainder of the off-season. As of August 2016, de Souza signed a 1-month contract with Flamengo Basketball, another Brazilian sports club for the 2016-17 off-season.[13] In November 2016, de Souza returned to Perfumerías Avenida Salamaca for the remainder of the off-season.[14]

International competitions[edit]

Érika (left) training with Brazil during the 2016 Olympics.

A member of the Brazil women's national basketball team, de Souza competed in four editions of the Olympic Games, 2004, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics as well as four World Championships.[15] She was due to represent her country in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament where Brazil qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympics but missed it due to injury and was officially ruled out of playing in the Olympics on July 29.[16]

De Souza was a member of the team which competed for Brazil at the 2011 Pan American Games, winning a bronze medal.[17]

WNBA career statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
 TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 Bold  Career high League leader

Regular season[edit]

Postseason[edit]

Awards and achievements[edit]

References[edit]