Asked to sleep on it, G Chelsea Newton woke with the same conclusion, she’s not interested in playing anymore. Newton stood with coach Brian Agler after practice on Tuesday to announce her retirement.
Drafted by Sacramento in 2005 after starring at Rutgers, Newton (pictured right by the WNBA) won a championship with the Monarchs as a rookie but was plagued by injuries. She underwent six surgeries ranging from her shoulder to knees.
Newton, 27, will pursue a career in coaching, but hasn’t made any plans — including when she’ll leave Seattle. She watched practice on Tuesday, remaining afterward to help G Aja Parham with individual drills. Newton’s home base is in Louisiana.
“The body is just beating me up and I just can’t continue to play the way I need to play at a high level being in the pain that I’m in,” Newton said. “It’s not the same for me anymore and I want to be able to walk when I’m 40.”
Newton said retirement has been on her mind for a while. She was selected by Seattle with the 10th overall pick in the dispersal draft of Monarchs players in December. The charter team surprisingly folded in November 2009.
Storm coach Brian Agler was thrilled with the pick, stating that he previously wanted to trade for Newton. She’s a defensive-minded guard with good ball-handling skills and great locker room leadership.
Newton averaged 5.1 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in five WNBA seasons. She was released by Sacramento in August 2009 to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery and signed by Seattle as a restricted free agent.
“She’s been somebody that we sort of coveted for a long time to be a part of the Storm,” said Agler, who’s also director of player personnel. “We were looking forward to her being part of our team this year. We are obviously supporting her on this. I talked to the team with her there and just appreciate her giving us a chance to coach her, even if it was only for a couple of days.”
Newton is the fourth player to pull their name from consideration for the Storm roster without being cut. Nabbing a position will be difficult anyway, but there’s more promise in the backcourt without Newton.
Agler expects G Lindsey Wilson and F Laura Kurz on Tuesday evening. Finished with play in Greece, they should be able to take their physicals on Wednesday and travel with the team to Portland for a scrimmage against China’s national team.