Monday, October 26, 2015

Former Lady Monarch Kelley earns championship with WNBA's Lynx

Shae Kelley has a WNBA championship ring.

The former Old Dominion star who spent her final year of eligibility playing at the University of Minnesota re-joined the Minnesota Lynx on July 31. Though she didn't log any minutes in the playoffs, but still feels she grew from the experience.

Kelley left ODU because she felt she could get better exposure playing in the Big Ten, which has its own network. A First-Team Big Ten (media) and Second-Team Big Ten (coaches) selection, the 6-1 forward averaged 17.5 ppg, shooting .486. Kelley started all 33 games for the Gophers, who lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament; She was drafted by Minnesota in the third round and appeared in eight regular season games this season, nabbing three rebounds, one assist and a steal. She was cut in July.

"At that time it was what the team needed, and they had to make that decision," she said.

Kelley calls the second opportunity a blessing. "They didn't have to call me back," she said. Coach Cheryl Reeve was candid in telling her she might not get playing time, but she would learn from some of the league's biggest stars. Minnesota's roster includes Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles and Lindsay Whalen.

"It was just crazy to watch them and play with them and practice every day," Kelley said. "I took it all in and got a championship out of it."

Kelley said she studied how Augustus was able to get open, Moore's ability to score with off-balance shots and Whalen's on-court smarts.

"I took a little bit from each person," Kelley said.

She's in Poland now on Energa Torun's roster, ready for another season and excited to be out of the United States for the first time ever.

Her continues to be grateful for her time as a Lady Monarch and heard from coach Karen Barefoot during the Lynx's run. "It was great the whole time I was there," she said. "I'm ODU alumni; that's where I graduated from."

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