Australian Opal and now Seattle Storm point guard Jade Melbourne has followed the club before she was drafted 15 months ago. Now she plays in a team that has an established history with Australians, and one that her idol played in up until last season.
The Seattle Storm are looking for redemption after missing out on the WNBA championship after falling short in the 2022 season in the semi-finals.
Three Opals representatives will wear the green and gold, this time for the Storm in 2023, with 2019 first-round pick Ezi Magbegor and Sami Whitcomb joining Melbourne at Seattle.
The third-round pick of the 2022 draft, Melbourne is finally taking her spot on the Seattle Storm for the 2023 WNBA season.
After an incredible season in the WNBL playing for the UC Capitals, Melbourne finished her third year averaging 13.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and starting all 17 games.
Melbourne spoke highly of finally landing in Seattle, meeting WNBA icon Sue Bird and her appreciation of the Storm’s acceptance of Australian players in the organisation.
“I’ve always modelled my game after [Sue Bird],” Jade Melbourne said.
“She’s my favourite player.
“Last year I got drafted and decided not to come immediately [but], it was an awesome day getting drafted by Seattle, it’s a team that I’ve followed.
They’ve had a really good, rich history with Australians.”
The transition from the culture of basketball in Australia to the culture in America is something Jade will have to start getting used to, especially with optimistic expectations of being the Storm’s future point guard.
“I got the opportunity to watch closely last year, pay attention to what they do, and to be here fifteen months later, I’m looking forward to what I can bring to the team,” Jade added.
“It was only a preseason game, but I had never played in front of that many people before, which is going to be cool. So yeah, I can’t wait till to see this place packed out.”
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Melbourne’s development has been a patient game with Seattle, going through a similar process when they drafted Magbegor a few seasons ago.
She has embraced the process of not playing in the WNBA straight away after being drafted.
“I just think you know being drafted at 19, you’re still very young and girls coming out of college were twenty-two, twenty-three. So that was something I looked at when considering coming over this year rather than last year”, Melbourne revealed.
In an alternate world, Melbourne would have been playing college basketball for Arizona State University instead of competing with new recruits Yvonne Turner and Sami Whitcomb for minutes at the point guard position.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, she never got to play for ASU, which had signed her in November 2020.
If Melbourne continues playing with the Storm, she will join a talented group of Australian women that have played for the organisation, which includes Lauren Jackson, Abby Bishop, Jenna O’Hea and Stephanie Talbot.
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