Yesterday, the Melbourne Boomers defeated the Sydney Uni Flames 72-66 in their season opener. If you’re wondering what that has to do with Iowa State athletics look no further than women’s basketball’s own Chelsea Poppens.
Poppens netted 18 points and grabbed five boards, helping the Boomer’s to victory. After the game this was the headline on the Boomer’s website ‘Captain Tess Madgen and import Chelsea Poppens star in six-point win over the Flames.’
I caught up with Chelsea Poppens a few weeks ago just before she boarded the plane for Australia. She told me that the last time she tried to board a plane to Australia she got a call from the San Antonio Silver Stars’ head coach Dan Hughes asking her to join the team to finish out the WNBA season. As many of you know she eagerly accepted, putting her trip to Australia on hold.
“It was like a dream come true,” Poppens said. “After I got cut by Seattle it was a bummer, but you just have to move forward and hope that another team will pick you up.”
The transition from college to professional play had its ups and downs, but the one thing that stayed the same for Poppens was the family atmosphere.
“The way they have their program it is a lot like Iowa State; it’s one big family,” she said. “It was perfect, the program and the people.”
One of the best parts for Poppens about playing in the WNBA, was the opportunity to play against some of the WNBA’s best.
“Getting to play against some of the greats is pretty awesome,” she said. “I was just so happy to be a part of it.”
After finishing up her time with the Silver Stars, Poppens was ready to jet off to Australia for real this time.
“I’m just looking forward to the experience,” she said. “I’ve never heard anything bad about Australia. My coaches seem nice. It’s a lot better than the other places a lot of rookies go to. I have a lot to improve in order to make the team next year in the WNBA.”
If yesterday’s game was any indication, it looks like she has made some good improvements.