WNBA players were near site of Istanbul attack, coach says

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ISTANBUL — A handful of WNBA players, including Essence Carson, Chelsea Gray and Jantel Lavender of the Los Angeles Sparks, were next door to a deadly shooting in a nightclub in Istanbul on Saturday night.

Sparks coach Brian Agler confirmed to The Associated Press that Carson had texted him that the three players were OK.

An assailant believed to have been dressed in a Santa Claus costume opened fire at a nightclub in Istanbul during New Year’s celebrations, killing at least 35 people and wounding 40 others in what the province’s governor described as a terror attack.

Carson had tweeted earlier in the evening that she was “stuck inside of the club because of ‘terror’ shooting in Istanbul. Praises to the most high.”

Stuck inside of the club because of ‘terror’ shooting in Istanbul. Praises to the most high.

We’re okay. Goodnight.

About two dozen WNBA players are in Turkey during their off-season playing in a league there.

The incident occurred a week after the WNBA started offering to its players a phone application to help assist them in trying to stay safe while traveling overseas.

The league has partnered with LiveSafe, a safety communications platform, to provide a mobile security app to its 60-plus players competing in Russia, Turkey, China and other countries this off-season.