by RENALDO DORSETT
Last season marked a historic career milestone for Waltiea Rolle and this season, that opportunity has been extended as she continues her career in the Women’s National Basketball Association.
The Seattle Storm announced Friday that they have re-signed Rolle and she will return for her second season with the franchise.
“Waltiea had strong overseas performances,” said Storm President and GM Alisha Valavanis. “To be competitive in this league, it’s critical to have presence in the paint and length around the rim.”
In six games with the Storm, she averaged 3.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.
On August 11 last year, the Storm signed Rolle for the remainder of the season after she completed three 10-day contracts with the club.
Rolle made Bahamian basketball history by becoming the first Bahamian to play in the WNBA when she appeared in the Storm’s 80-74 loss to the Tulsa Shock on July 29.
She signed her first seven-day contract with the Storm on July 21, dressing for all three of Seattle’s games spanning from July 22-26, but did not receive playing time during the three games in that timespan.
During the second contract, she received spot duty in three consecutive contests when she scored two points in each outing. She ended the season with five rebounds in a 78-65 loss to the Phoenix Mercury.
Seattle finished the season at 12-22, no.5 in the Western Conference standings.
Rolle spent the fall with Nymburk of the Czech Republic’s ZBL League where she is currently averaging 11 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
In her inagural WNBA season, her Seattle Storm fell short in their push toward the WNBA postseason.
Before the regular season ended, Rolle was able to make an impact with the franchise with increased opportunities on the floor.
She tallied a WNBA career high in the Storm’s penultimate game of the season with a double double – 10 points and 10 rebounds – in a 77-65 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks in August.
After completing training camp and the preseason with the Minnesota Lynx, Rolle was waived in May just prior to the tip-off of the WNBA season.
The 6’6” centre was a third-round pick (36th overall) by the Minnesota Lynx in the 2013 WNBA Draft and appeared in all three preseason games with the team, averaging 7.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game.
For the Lynx, her preseason highlight was when she led the team in scoring with 17 points and five rebounds in their 82-66 triumph over the Australian national team in Minneapolis on May 5.
She then elected to forgo the entire 2013 WNBA season in favor of completing her degree in sports administration and exercise sports science at the University of North Carolina, and playing overseas.
She spent that season in Europe where in 21 games played in Bulgaria’s NBL League, she claimed the season’s most valuable player award, as well as the Bulgarian Cup.
A 2013 graduate of North Carolina, Rolle owns two of the top ten best shot-blocking seasons in school history. Her 89 blocks during the 2013 campaign stand for sixth all-time and her 82 blocks in the 2011 season are good for eighth all-time in North Carolina history.
The Storm will open the 2015 season on June 6 on the road against the Los Angeles Sparks.