Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

Dishin & Swishin 5/03/13 Podcast: Sometimes the road hits some bumps – Jacki Gemelos and Shyra Ely-Gash try to overcome ACL injuries to earn a WNBA roster spot

Published on May 3, 2013


ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 25: Shyra Ely #43 of the Indiana Fever drives against Lindsey Harding #10 of the Atlanta Dream in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals during the WNBA Playoff at Philips Arena on September 25, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2011 NBAE. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jacki Gemelos and Shyra Ely-Gash (Photos: Jon Kondrath/USC Sports Information and Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images).


Jacki Gemelos was in college playing for Southern California when it happened to her. Shyra Ely-Gash was a WNBA veteran getting ready for Indiana Fever training camp when it happened to her. Those three letters that every athlete and fan hates to hear: ACL.

Now as the 2013 WNBA gets ready to begin, both Gemelos and Ely-Gash have a common bond, as they both try to overcome their knee injuries and earn a spot on a team roster. Not just any roster, mind you. Ely-Gash is trying to return to the defending champion Indiana Fever. Gemelos is looking to earn a spot on the team the Fever beat in the finals, the prior year’s champion Minnesota Lynx.

For Gemelos, just getting to training camp is an amazing story of perseverance and dedication. She first entered school in time for the 2006-07 season, only to see not only that year but also the next two season be lost to ACL tears. It was not until February 4, 2010 that Gemelos was able to play college basketball. After winning a gold medal in the 2011 World University Games, she had high hopes for her senior year, only to tear yet another ACL nine games into it. Still, the Lynx thought enough of Gemelos’ skills and dedication that they drafted her last season with their third round choice, waiting for this opportunity, to give her a chance at making their roster.

The good news for Gemelos is two guards, Candice Wiggins and Erin Thorn, that were on last year’s Lynx roster are gone, creating two openings. The bad news is the Lynx also drafted guards Lindsey Moore, Sugar Rodgers and Chucky Jeffery to compete for a roster spot. One thing is certain: it is going to be a tough competition to make the Lynx roster.

Ely-Gash has had a different career path. After starring at Tennessee, she was drafted with the first pick in the second round of the 2005 draft by the San Antonio Silver Stars. Instead of being surprised or puzzled by her journeys through San Antonio, Seattle, Chicago and Indiana, Ely-Gash has molded and extended her game, adding facing the basket moves to the post moves she learned as a Lady Vol. It is that ability to adjust that has led to Ely-Gash being one of only ten players from the 2005 draft still in the league. She missed the 2010 season with an injured patella tendon, and then while preparing for training camp, tore her ACL last spring.

Ely-Gash will be trying to earn a spot on the defending champions, a team that returns to camp ten of the eleven players from last season’s championship squad, plus draft choices and free agent signings. It will not be easy to make the Fever, but at least Ely-Gash knows she has put in the work, and should it not work out, she has been using her downtime in building a successful fashion consulting business.

Camps open this weekend, and these are just two of a great deal of stories that are similar, but different. Players from all over the world looking for a spot on a roster in the best women’s basketball league. It may be injuries, it may be another type of adversity, but they will all have those hard-to-earn eleven roster in their sights.

Good luck to all the incredibly talented women entering camps. I hope you enjoy the podcast!


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