Jessica Breland relishes chance to get settled with Sky
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Sky forward Jessica Breland can finally get settled.
The Sky on Thursday announced they have signed Breland, who had been a restricted free agent, for the 2015 season. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Breland will be able to play consecutive WNBA seasons in the same place for the first time.
“It means a lot,” Breland said. “I’ve been bouncing around a little bit and to be able to make connections with coaches and teammates and to be able to join in for next season is great.”
During Breland’s 2014 season – her first with the Sky after spending time with Connecticut, New York and Indiana – she averaged a career-high 9.7 points and 6.8 rebounds. She started off especially strong, registering four double-doubles in her first six games before being named an all-star and helping the Sky stay competitive without Sylvia Fowles and Elena Delle Donne.
“I’m thrilled Jessica will continue this journey with us,” Sky coach Pokey Chatman said in a news release. “She immediately made a positive impact on both ends of the floor, garnering all-star honors, but more importantly she helped us contend for a title. I’m looking forward to her continued growth.”
Added Breland: “It was cool. I had fun last season. Great coaching staff and players. They just made it really easy to go out and be myself and play.”
Though Breland’s numbers tailed off during the second half she was still able to deal with a shoulder injury to stay an important part of the Sky as they reached the WNBA Finals. That’s something she didn’t want to leave, and something that could be even stronger after Monday’s acquisition of Cappie Pondexter from New York for Epiphanny Prince.
“Where else would I go? I had some success there. I enjoyed the players and I enjoyed the coaches,” Breland said. “I’ve played with Cappie before in New York and I think she’s a great leader. I think that’s something that we were kind of missing last year, and I think she’s going to bring a lot.”
She will, but Pondexter came at a price for the Sky. And Breland.
“Me and Piph were just connecting. The season is really short, so it takes a while to really be able to build bonds, especially in the offseason when everyone would go their separate ways. Kind of disappointed that Piph’s not going to be there because she was probably one of the ones that I was able to talk to the most on the team,” Breland said. “I’ll be able to see her around. I know she’ll be happy to be playing in New York because that’s where she’s from and she’ll be able to have her family there and being home, there’s nothing like that.”