SEATTLE – A few weeks ago, first-year Storm coach Dan Hughes identified improving the depth on the frontline as one of the top offseason priorities for a team that ranked next to last in rebounding last year.
On the second day of free agency, Seattle signed 6-foot-4 center Courtney Paris, a two-time WNBA rebounding champion who is looking to bounce back after an injury-plagued season in 2017 with the Dallas Wings.
“We are excited to welcome Courtney to the Storm family,” Hughes said in a statement released by the team. “She brings a unique set of talents that will blend well with our existing team. She is a physical, veteran presence in the low post that has the ability to help the us defensively as well as offensively and is an excellent teammate.”
Last year Paris missed 5 1/2 weeks due to a reported knee injury. She appeared in a career-low 20 games – and started eight – while averaging 4.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 13.7 minutes.
In 2016, she averaged 8.0 rebounds, 7.7 points and 24.3 minutes during her first year in Dallas.
Paris, an eight-year veteran who was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2009 WNBA draft, had her most productive years with the Tulsa Shock when she led the league in rebounding in 2015 (9.3 per game) and 2014 (10.2).
“I am excited for this new opportunity,” said Paris, who has averaged 6.1 rebounds and 5.6 points while shooting 52.9 percent from the field during her career. “I’ve always had a great respect for the Seattle Storm franchise and it has always been one of my favorite WNBA cities. I believe in the vision Dan Hughes has for the team and with the combination of talent and experience, it will be an exciting summer full of potential. I can’t wait to be part of it.”
Paris bolsters a Storm frontline that includes a trio of forwards including star Breanna Stewart, Crystal Langhorne and Alysha Clark. Seattle is unlikely to re-sign backup center Carolyn Swords, who is an unrestricted free agent, after an unproductive 2017 in which she averaged 2.6 points, 1.5 rebounds and 8.7 minutes during her first season with the Storm.
At the University of Oklahoma, Paris became a record-breaking star who was the NCAA’s first-ever four-time Associated Press All-American. The 2007 AP National Player of the Year and three-time Big 12 Player of the Year still holds 20 NCAA, 57 Big 12 and 69 OU records.
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