She’s back at full power.
Chanelle Molina amassed 32 points and 10 rebounds as her new team, Södertälje Basketbollklubb (SBBK), in a 77-71 loss to Ostersund Basket. In the Swedish Basketball League season opener against IK EOS, she had 13 points, six rebounds and two assists in an 87-74 loss. Molina, a 5-foot-9 guard, leads Södertälje at 22 points and eight rebounds per game.
“My team is filled with shooters. We play small ball, so four guards and one big. They’re such amazing humans and all hustle when they step on the court,” she said. “My role on the team is the same: create for myself, my teammates. Always in that attacking mindset. And shooting, of course.”
Returning to Sweden was a plus. There is a certain comfort now in her second year there, though this is a new team and city. The former Washington State and Konawaena standout averaged 15.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.3 rebounds per game for the Norrköping Dolphins last year.
“A business decision. EuroCup was the key to having me sign,” said Molina, who signed with SBBK on Sept. 1. “My agent wanted to put me in a position where I would get playing time and put up the same and even better numbers like I did last years. So teams in the top three in the league. However, my deal with Södertälje is a one-plus-one deal. I would sign to play for one year, and if they enter the EuroCup next year, I would come back and sign with them again. EuroCup would be good exposure for me.”
Recovering from two injuries to her ankle in a short span of time required immense patience.
“My first step in my recovery was getting my mind right. I walked my dog a lot while I was home (in Kona) and that’s where I did a lot of self-reflection. I was home for about two months.”
Molina got some shooting done, but her focus was on strength and explosiveness.
“The next two months, I was in Arizona training with a college connection that I had, and I was training on the track and in the weight room,” she said.
Arriving in Södertälje, 6,973 miles from Kona, is a key step forward for Molina, 23.
“What I like about the city is that there are nice walking trails,” she said. “My teammates are super kind and my coaches are level-headed. They give us the freedom to create and just play.”
SBBK is on the road to play A3 Basket this weekend. The 25-game regular season ends on Mar. 20.
“It felt like home last year,” she said. “Sweden is my second home.”
>> February, 2016: Chanelle Molina concludes her high school basketball career with a third Star-Advertiser player of the year honor (and fourth all-state Fab 15 selection) after Konawaena captures its third state championship in a row.
>> 2017: She plays 17 games at Washington State, averaging 12.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists per game. That included a 33-point game against UCLA.
>> 2018: Returning from a season-ending injury suffered in ’17, she increases her free-throw percentage to 72 percent.
>> 2019: She averages 15.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.8 steals in 37 minutes per game in her final season as a Washington State Cougar. She also shoots 46 percent from the field, 39 percent from three and 87 percent from the charity stripe.
>> October, 2020: She scores 24 points in her pro debut with the Norrköping Dolphins.
>> February, 2021: While playing for the Norrköping Dolphins, Molina signs a contract with the WNBA’s Indiana Fever.
>> March, 2021: Molina turns 23.
>> April, 2021: Injures ankle near the end of Swedish Basketball League season. Reinjures the ankle during preseason camp with Indiana Fever. Waived by the Fever.
>> September, 2021: Signs a contract with Södertälje Basketbollklubb (SBBK).
>> October, 2021: Career highs as a pro with 32 points and 10 rebounds against Ostersund Basket.