Turning 23 is not a bad place to be, especially for Chanelle Molina.
Playing professional basketball in Sweden. Helping her Norrköping Dolphins squad reach the playoffs. Signing a contract with the WNBA’s Indiana Fever. Molina had a modest birthday celebration, having dinner with teammates.
“We went out to eat at a nice restaurant,” Molina said. “I’m 23 and I feel the same. I still feel young and have this feeling that I have so much more milestones and things that I want to accomplish.”
The Dolphins were 14-6 going into a showdown with first-place Alvik. Their five-game win streak was dimmed slightly when Molina suffered an ankle injury. She is averaging 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and 1.6 steals per game. She is shooting 52 percent from the field, including 40 percent from the arc, and 76 percent at the free-throw line.
“I actually sprained my right ankle pretty bad towards the end of the first quarter when I landed after going in for a rebound. The MRI scans said I didn’t break any bones, so my priority is getting this ankle healthy so that I can play in the playoffs,” she said.
Play games weekly, Molina’s time in Sweden has been a simmering adventure with long bus rides, empty arenas due to the pandemic, and plenty of time to work out and bond with her teammates. The signing with the Fever a month ago hasn’t changed her routine.
“Other than being more motivated, my ways have always been the same, always wanting to get better every single day,” the former Konawaena and Washington State standout said.
Her arrival at Indiana is expected sometime in April. The status of her ankle could have some bearing on her ability to make the roster. Molina’s focus, though, is on her team’s mission. Norrköping is prepared to make a deep run.
“Our defense has improved tremendously. When we play good defense, we get into transition and I feel like we’re the best team in the league when it comes to that,” she said. “Everyone’s gotten into a good groove and I think we’re in a good position to give a good game against any team that we face in the playoffs. If everyone plays hard and does their job, they can really beat anyone with or without me.”
Note: On Thursday, first-place Alvik edged Norrköping, 73-71, despite 25 points and nine rebounds by Erika Davenport. The Dolphins are now 14-7 and will play Uppsala next week in a regular-season finale.