Entering her 10th WNBA season, Jessica Breland will once again be donning the Indiana Fever colors after signing with the team on Tuesday.
Breland’s first stint with the Fever was during the 2013 season. In 30 games with the Fever, she averaged 5.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 block per contest. When asked why she decided to come back to Indiana, her answer started with Fever general manager Tamika Catchings.
“My number one answer would be Catch,” Breland said in her media presser. “I remember playing with her, I remember all the values, hard work and effort that she put in day in and day out. That’s who I strive to be every day when I get on the court and I remember how much I grew when I was there with her. The things that she envisions for the Fever it aligns with who I am as person and the leader I want to become.
“Also, the team, we’re a young team with a lot of talent. I heard a lot of great things about Coach Stanley… and I am ready to get out there with her and develop that support system. I’m ready to grow and I’m ready to help others grow as well.”
Throughout her career, Breland has totaled 1,766 points, 1,423 rebounds, 328 blocks, 324 assists and 188 steals.
Breland last played in 2019 with the Atlanta Dream. She opted out of the 2020 season in the WNBA bubble, after receiving medical exemption from the league due to a history with cancer, which was linked to higher chances of experiencing symptoms from COVID-19.
“It was a tough decision for me to make last season when I decided to sit out,” Breland replied. “It’s one of the hardest things to do to sit out and watch basketball when your active and an athlete or player. I sat back and I watched it, so it was very similar to being out with an injury. So, now to have the opportunity to come back and play, I’m super excited and I can’t wait to get back out there.”
For head coach Marianne Stanley, Breland not only brings offensive versatility to the floor, but also defensive prowess and high energy rebounding.
“As a coach, I really appreciate the fact that Jessica is versatile,” Coach Stanley said with a smile. “She’s got the experience that we were looking for to round out our front line. While people recognize that versatility on the offensive end, probably more readily than the defensive end, I’m here to tell you that we really appreciate her defense and rebounding as well. Those were areas where we really felt that we needed to improve as a team.
“So, the fact that we could acquire somebody with Jessica’s versatility, defense, rebounding and experience, all in one package, we’re just thrilled that she is joining us, and I know she is going to have a big impact immediately. On top of that, she one of the nicest players that you could ever meet and a true pro’s pro.”
As for Breland, it looks like her veteran experience and leadership skills coincide with the Fever’s recent signings of point guard Danielle Robinson and forward Jantel Lavender, who are also expected to have strong leadership roles with this young Fever team.
“Experience matters in this league; it really does, and [Breland] brings a heavy dose of experience at a really high level. She’s been there, she understands it. It hasn’t always been easy, there have been up and downs and everything in between, but she is somebody who has shown the ability to navigate the league at a very high level.” Coach Stanley stated.