Sky Selects Zara in Expansion Draft

November 16, 2005

SEATTLE - The Seattle Storm today announced that guard Francesca Zara was selected by the Chicago Sky, the WNBA’s newest team, in the 2005 WNBA Expansion Draft. Also joining Zara as inaugural members of Chicago’s first WNBA franchise are Jia Perkins (Charlotte), Brooke Wyckoff (Connecticut), Elaine Powell (Detroit), Kiesha Brown (Houston), Deanna Jackson (Indiana), Laura Macchi (Los Angeles), Stacey Lovelace (Minnesota), DeTrina White (New York), Ashley Robinson (Phoenix), Chelsea Newton (Sacramento), Bernadette Ngoyisa (San Antonio) and Stacey Dales-Schuman (Washington).

Zara, who signed with the Storm as a free agent on May 17, 2005, was one of four Storm players to appear in all 34 games as a rookie, starting four. Zara averaged 2.6 points, 1.5 assists and 1.1 rebounds per game, ranking fifth amongst WNBA rookies in assist average, ninth in steals (0.5) and third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.24). She scored a career-high nine points on June 8 at Detroit, making her first WNBA start in place of an injured Sue Bird. She handed out a career-high five assists on Aug. 25 vs. Sacramento.

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"It’s disappointing to lose a player like Fran," said Storm Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel Anne Donovan. "Her contributions on and off of the court last season were immeasurable. Fran was able to step in and provide leadership when Sue was injured. For that, she will always be remembered fondly by Storm fans, players and staff. The Sonics & Storm organization wishes her all the best in Chicago with the Sky."

A native of Italy, Zara came to the WNBA with extensive Italian League experience. She currently plays for Phard Napoli, which won the 2005 FIBA EuroCup. She is the first Storm player ever lost to an Expansion Draft.

Chicago had the right to acquire one player from each of the 13 WNBA teams. Each team had designated a maximum of six players who would not be available for selection in the Expansion Draft.

The Sky, the WNBA's 14th franchise, joins the Charlotte Sting, Connecticut Sun, Detroit Shock, Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Washington Mystics in the Eastern Conference. Home games will be played at the UIC Pavilion, located on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Seattle Sonics & Storm manages the Puget Sound region’s professional basketball franchises – the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. The organization oversees all sales, marketing, finance, public relations and basketball operations for the teams. The Basketball Club of Seattle LLC owns both teams.