WNBA exhibition play has already tipped off with Washington and New York this morning, but Seattle will host Sacramento for the night cap at KeyArena. The game will air on the Storm’s flagship station, KKNW (1150 AM), with returning broadcasters Dick Fain and Adia Barnes on the call.
Sacramento should be a good test for Seattle. The Monarchs, which finished fourth in the West last season (18-16), have solid post players, but both Rebekkah Brunson and DeMya Walker are returning after knee injuries. Coach Jenny Boucek, a former Storm assistant, said that’s one of the reasons her team drafted Courtney Paris (pictured right) with the seventh overall pick. The former Oklahoma star will be another highlight to see tonight and could challenge the Storm rookie posts.
Along with consistent double-doubles, Paris made news during her team’s NCAA tournament run when she stated she’d repay her scholarship (about $64,000) if the Sooners didn’t win a championship. They didn’t, but the school wouldn’t accept any money. Instead Paris started a foundation, Pay It Forward, speaking to students for the East Bay College Fund this week.
“It was awesome and I felt honored to be there talking to them,” said Paris, a native of Northern California who played against Storm rookie Ashley Walker as a youth. “Some of their stories were inspirational, like being raised by their grandmother and never meeting their parents. One kid got shot after track practice. Another kid was in a gang and changed his life and now is getting ready to go to college. It’s in the spirit of what I felt about my scholarship – being able to go and tell people and leave something in this world.”
On the court, Paris is adjusting to the WNBA pace. Once thought to be a No. 1 overall draft pick, she slid to the Monarchs. Many GMs questioned her conditioning, a theme from commentators during the tourney, too.
“The players are better and they’re faster,” Paris said. “Just like coming from high school, people questioned me and whether I’d be able to keep up. There’s always an adjustment you have to make. In the WNBA, you have four days to make that adjustment as opposed to college where you get there in the summer and have a whole preseason. It’s a huge transition and something I’m going to work on, but I’m not going to let what people think hold me back.”