Chanelle Molina’s first season as a professional basketball player is unlocking the best she has to offer.
Molina remains one of the Swedish Basketball League’s top scorers at 18.7 points per game. The close losses have racked up, but the Norrköping Dolphins are still in the hunt for a playoff berth.
“When it comes to playoffs, it is best out of three for quarterfinals and semis, and the top four teams will host the first game. It’s crucial for us to win these next few games so that we can be in the top four,” Molina said on Tuesday.
At 8-6, the Dolphins are in fifth place with seven regular-seasons remaining. Six playoff berths are at stake. Norrköping has consistently made quick work of the league’s lower half while losing some close battles against the SBL’s title contenders.
A 74-73 loss to A3 Basket on Saturday gave the visitors a sweep of the Dolphins. Center Erika Davenport had 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Dolphins. Lovisa Hjern tallied 17 points and six assists.
A3 edged Norrköping 95-92 in overtime back on Nov. 22.
“We started off slow, then had to fight to come back at the end of the game. That’s the same thing when we played Lulea. If we’d started off strong, then we would have won the game,” Molina noted.
A3 is 12-2, second in the SBL. Lulea is in third place at 10-2. Alvik Basket is the leader at 15-0.
Molina had 19 points, three assists and three steals in the loss on Saturday. The former Konawaena and Washington State standout is shooting 52 percent from the field for the season, including 43 percent from long range, and 79 percent at the free-throw line. She also averages 5.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.9 steals with only 1.8 turnovers per game.
On Wednesday, the Dolphins will face IK Eos, a 6-6 team that is fighting for a playoff spot. When the teams met on Oct. 31, Norrköping lost on the road, 73-69.
“Our key will be to contain their guard who shoots a majority of their shots for them. Their other key player, who is a big, will not be playing, so if we do that, then we’ll be fine,” Molina said.
She has a message for her grandfather, Remigio Molina.
“Shout out to my papa. He’s always praying for me and my sisters’ health,” she said. “Love you, papa!”
Her younger sisters, Cherilyn and Celene, help carry the torch back at Washington State (8-4, 6-4), which is fifth in the Pac-12.
“They won against Oregon State the other day. Super cool,” Molina said.
Cherilyn Molina, starting at point guard, scored 15 points on 4-for-4 shooting from the field and 5-for-6 shooting at the foul line against Oregon State. She played a season-high 35 minutes.
Chanelle Molina still relishes her memories of college life.
“I miss hanging out with my friends in college, and I miss my teammates and coaches,” she said.