Connecticut signs rookie Romero, former Sun Griffin
There will be two new faces, and an old familiar one, at Connecticut Sun training camp this spring.
Connecticut announced Wednesday that Leticia Romero signed her rookie contract, and that free agents Betnijah Laney and Kelsey Griffin agreed to training camp contracts. Griffin played five seasons for the franchise.
The Sun drafted Romero, a 5-foot-8 guard, in the second round (16th overall) of the 2017 draft, but she didn't play due to Spanish National Team commitments.
"After a year wait, we are excited to have signed Romero and look forward to having her in camp," Sun general manager and head coach Curt Miller said. "She is a versatile guard who can play on and off the ball."
Romero was the first three-time All-American in Florida State history and finished as the Atlantic Coast Conference's all-time leader in 3-point shooting percentage (47.7 percent). She made 48.1 percent of her field goal attempts and 83.7 percent of her free throws at Florida State and helped Spain to its first Olympic women's basketball medal (silver) in 2016.
Griffin, a 6-foot-2 forward, was drafted third overall by Minnesota in the 2010 draft and traded moments later to Connecticut. She started in 71 of 164 games, averaged 4.9 points and 4.2 rebounds, and had a knack for being in the right place at the right time for a steal or to take an offensive foul. She missed the entire 2015 season after arthroscopic surgery on her left hip and hasn't played in the WNBA since.
Griffin played the last six years with the Bendigo Spirit of the Women's National Basketball League in Australia, which became a new home for the Alaska native. She helped Bendigo to the league title in 2013 and 2014 and was Grand Final MVP honors both years. She became an Australian citizen in 2015 with her citizenship ceremony being held on court after a game. She averaged 16.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game through six games this season before needing season-ending hip surgery in November.
Connecticut has been looking for a veteran post. Kayla Pedersen told the team after last season that she'd probably pursue her off-the-court passions (she took 2016 off to do ministry work), and Lynetta Kizer signed with Minnesota on Wednesday.
"When (Kayla) made it known that she would more than likely not being coming back," Miller said, "could we find that versatile post player who has a high basketball IQ and is a fantastic teammate? Obviously, Kelsey came immediately to mind.
"We don't know exactly where she'll be with her recovery time for training camp, but we've been in constant communication with her about her rehab and learned that she's way ahead of schedule."
Laney, a 6-foot guard/forward, was taken in the second round of the 2015 draft by Chicago and played 40 games over two seasons. She tore her anterior cruciate ligament on June 3, 2016 and was waived by the Sky during training camp last year. She also played for Bendigo this offseason (Sun reserve guard Rachel Banham was one of her teammates) and averaged 14.7 points and 5.4 rebounds.
"We were interested in Laney last year after she was cut by Chicago," Miller said, "but knew that she wasn't completely back 100-percent from her ACL recovery. We were going into this offseason looking for a wing player who could play both the two and the three and give us a gritty defender. … We really look forward to bringing her toughness into our training camp."
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