Tag Archives: Crystal Kelly

BASKETBALL: Kelly comments on trade to San Antonio

You’ve got to think former Lady Topper star Crystal Kelly might keep a suitcase permanently packed.

After being drafted by the Houston Comets in the 2008 WNBA Draft, Kelly was released but quickly signed with the Sacramento Monarchs. After one season in Sacramento, she was traded to the Detroit Shock.

The Shock then made the transition this offseason from Detroit to Tulsa, where Kelly was preparing to settle down when the WNBA’s season begins in May. And then came another move. 

Kelly was traded Wednesday from the Shock to the San Antonio Silver Stars, according to the latter’s Web site. Although the Silver Stars are Kelly’s fourth team and the third she will have played with, she told the Herald Thursday via e-mail that she’s pleased with the trade.

“I am really excited about the move to San Antonio,” Kelly stated in the e-mail. “I think that this is a great opportunity for me, and the overall staff there is great from what I have heard.”

Kelly hadn’t even made it to Tulsa yet, as she is currently finishing up her play with an Italian team, ACP Livorno, during the offseason.

“It wasn’t that hard to make the move because … it’s as if I’m going from Detroit straight to San Antonio,” she stated in the e-mail.

Kelly said she had the chance to speak with the Silver Stars’ general manager after the trade, and the team expressed enthusiasm about having her in training camp.

“(That) made me more excited about getting a chance to make a team that has a great reputation and usually does well in the playoffs,” she stated in the e-mail. “It will be a tough training camp but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

The Silver Stars begin their 2010 regular season with a May 15 home game against the Atlanta Dream.

-Zach Greenwell

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BASKETBALL: Former Lady Topper Kelly traded to San Antonio

Just as former Lady Topper standout Crystal Kelly was about to get her bearings with the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock, she’s headed to a new city.

Kelly was traded today from the Shock to the San Antonio Silver Stars for guard Shanna Crossley, according to the Silver Stars’ Web site.

After beginning her WNBA career with the Sacramento Monarchs, Kelly was traded last season to the Detroit Shock. The team moved to Tulsa during the offseason, and Kelly was preparing to return from playing in Italy to join the team for the league’s May start.

The Herald had a chance to catch up with Kelly a few days ago while she was in Italy. Click here for the story.

Kelly will now get the chance to play with former Middle Tennessee star Alysha Clark, who was drafted by San Antonio in the second round of this year’s WNBA draft. Also on the team is Tasha Humphrey, the sister of 2010 Lady Topper signee Mimi Hill.

Kelly averaged 5.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in her first two years in the league.

-Zach Greenwell

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BASKETBALL: Catching up with Crystal Kelly

It’s been a hectic journey for former Western standout Crystal Kelly since she headed to the WNBA two years ago, but she says she’s loved every minute of it.

The Herald had the chance to catch up with Kelly recently by e-mail, her main form of communication at the moment. Kelly was unavailable by phone because she’s currently playing in Italy during the WNBA’s offseason.

She’ll leave her Italian team, ACP Livorno, to rejoin the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock when the league’s season begins in May.

Kelly has averaged 5.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in 67 career WNBA games.

Here are a few thoughts from Kelly about the Shock, Italy and her Western roots:

On the Shock moving from Detroit to Tulsa for the 2010 season:

“The Shock moving to Tulsa is a big move. I don’t know what to expect. There’s going to be all new coaches and staff, so getting used to that will take a little time. But I’m going into it with an open mind and trying to do what they ask of me and more.”

On her best moments so far in the WNBA:

“The league play itself is very intense. Every game is like playing against an all-star team. The competition is great, and it challenges me every day in practice to get better. I don’t think I would say that I have had hurdles, but I am still trying to find my place in the league and extend my game so I can be a more versatile player.  I’ve been traded and now my team has moved, and I’ve only been playing two years so I just want to find my niche.”

On her experiences overseas:

“This is actually my second year overseas. Last offseason I played in Olesa, Spain, about 25 minutes from Barcelona. That was such an amazing first year overseas especially with friends and family being able to come visit and enjoy that experience with me. Now I am in Livorno, Italy, and although my team is struggling I still enjoy the league and the Italian lifestyle.”

On the differences in style of play in Europe:

“The league play overseas was hard to get used to at first. Most Americans, when they come over here, get called for lots of travels or fouls because it’s a different style of play here. However, I love it. Over here I get a chance to really expand my game and work on things that will help me when I get back to the states. I’m shooting on the perimeter more and learning new crafty post moves, so overall it is helping my game out tremendously playing overseas.”

On what she’s seen from the Lady Toppers since her departure:

“I know that Western may not have had the season that they may have wanted since I have left, but it is a process. When I came into Western, we played well but I still only won one Sun Belt tournament, and it wasn’t until my senior year when I finally embraced my role as a leader on the team. So I have no worries that the team is moving in the right direction and that (Head Coach) Mary (Taylor Cowles) and her staff are doing everything to make sure of it .”

Kelly and the Shock will begin their season May 9 with a preseason home game against the Seattle Storm.

-Zach Greenwell

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Lady Topper family reacts to Cacie Pope’s passing

Head Coach Mary Taylor Cowles has issued a statement through Western Media Relations regarding the passing of former Lady Topper Cacie Pope.

Pope, 24, lost a seven-year battle with brain cancer at home in California on Sunday night.

“The Lady Topper Family is deeply saddened by Cacie’s passing, but we are grateful to have known her and are blessed to have had her in our lives,” Cowles said. “Cacie’s unbelievable strength and spirit was – and will continue to be – an inspiration to everyone who knew her.”

Crystal Kelly, a former Lady Topper standout and teammate of Pope, Tweeted a message this morning, expressing her reluctance to head to basketball practice. But it was obvious that Kelly learned of Pope’s passing just hours later.

“and the little things dont seem to matter anymore….R. I. P. cacie pope…love you boots,” Kelly Tweeted this afternoon.

Current Assistant Coach Latasha Dorsey also shared her condolences on Twitter.

“We loss a very special Lady Topper last night. Your strength was an inspiration to many. R.I.P. Cacie Pope

Pope joined the Lady Toppers in 2003 but was diagnosed with a brain tumor in October of that year.

She was cleared to play and returned to action for the 2004-05 season, playing and starting in  nine games before a recurrence of her brain tumor cut her season short.

Pope averaged nine points and 7.2 rebounds over that nine-game span and posted 14 points and 11 rebounds in a victory over No. 11 Vanderbilt in Diddle Arena – the Lady Toppers’ last win over a ranked opponent.

She saw action in seven games as a sophomore before more complications brought her playing career to an end.

-Zach Greenwell

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