2018-05-17 / Sports

Women’s pro basketball moves into Dort Federal Event Center

By Brandon Pope
810-452-2651 • bpope@mihomepaper.com

FLINT – The Dort Federal Event Center in Flint now has a new tenant.

Joining the Flint Firebirds at the arena, the Flint Monarchs of the Global Women’s Basketball Association, will begin playing home games at the 1969-built facility this summer. The announcement was made during a press conference at the Dort Federal Event Center last Thursday.

“Basketball is the heartbeat of Flint,” said Monarchs’ President & General Manager Drey Wynn. “I learned how to play basketball on the courts here in Flint. I played at Flint Northern; I starred at Grand Blanc, so basketball is very passionate to me and there are a lot of life skills that you can take from basketball.”

Many people may think that the Monarchs are a new venture, but that’s far from the truth. The team was established in 2011 and has not only been around since, but has been a driving force in the women’s pro basketball circuit. According to Wynn, the Monarchs have won four national championships for this level of women’s basketball.

And they had the hardware to prove it. Championship trophies were strewn along a table near the side of the press conference. Also in attendance was assistant coach Linnell Jones-McKenney, who was the first women’s professional athlete from Flint when she played pro basketball overseas. The Monarchs also brought guard Jasmine McCall, who played college ball at Wayne State and Bowling Green.

The Monarchs began as a semipro team in the Women’s Blue Chip Basketball League and became a pro team when they joined the Women’s American Basketball Association in 2014. They’ve decided to join the GWBA for the 2018 season, a seven-team pro league that will expand to 10 teams in 2019.

Throughout their history, the Monarchs have played at the Cage Fieldhouse in Swartz Creek, Carman- Ainsworth High and Mott Community College’s Ballenger Fieldhouse. However, they felt the move to Dort Federal would increase their visibility even more, despite drawing decent crowds while playing at Mott.

According to Dort Federal Credit Unit Event Center arena General Manager Jeremy Torrey, the Monarchs will play in the Arena II portion of the facility.

The team will play a 10-game regular season schedule with five games at home. Their home opener will tip off at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 9 against the Milwaukee Aces, the team the Monarchs defeated for the championship a year ago. Tickets are $10 general admission, $5 for children and season passes can be purchased for $50.

Monarch’s most current roster

Arlesia Morse, Flint Hamady, Marquette University, Flint Monarchs Brandie Baker, Flint Hamady, Central Michigan University, Flint Monarchs Crystal Bradford, Detroit Inkster, Central Michigan University, WNBA Los Angeles Sparks/Flint Monarchs Jasmine Mccall, Detroit CMA, Wayne State University/Bowling Green State University, Flint Monarchs Jasmine Thomas, Flint Hamady, Michigan State University, Flint Monarchs Nya Jordan, Detroit Community, University of Michigan, Flint Monarchs Sparkle Taylor, Flint Northwestern, University of Texas at El Paso, Flint Monarchs Taylor Gleason, Goodrich, University of Illinois/Oakland University, Flint Monarchs

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