Kelsey Griffin returns to Connecticut Sun

KELSEY Griffin has ended a nearly three-year hiatus from the WNBA to sign with her former club Connecticut Sun.

The four-time Bendigo Spirit MVP has signed a training camp deal with the Sun, the team she joined as a rookie in 2010 after originally being drafted with the number three pick in the draft by Minnesota Lynx.

Griffin, a two-time championship player and two-time grand final MVP with the Spirit, last played with the Sun in 2015 and appeared in 164 games in total.

Connecticut’s training camp will be a Spirit reunion of sorts with 2017-18 season import Betnijah Laney also being signed this week.

Griffin and Laney will be joined by Rachel Banham, who joined the Spirit last season after spending the 2017 WNBA season with the Sun.

The 30-year-old naturalised Australian has become a WNBL free agent is no guarantee to return to the Spirit next season.

Spirit coach Simon Pritchard said the club had entered negotiations with Griffin, but Bendigo was only one of multiple options going forward for the two-time WNBL All-Star.

“We’re right in the thick of it, but as a free agent she is in discussions with all WNBL clubs and international clubs and she’s hired an agent,” he said.

“I think we are in a good position to retain her – she’s a local girl, which works in our favour.

“By the same token, going into the open market you can get beaten.”

Griffin has made no secret of her want to represent Australia at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The forward made a stunning debut as an Opal at the 2017 Asia Cup, averaging 17.9 points and 9.1 rebounds and earned tournament MVP honours.

Griffin played just six games for the Spirit last season, averaging 16.8 points and 9.5 rebounds before being sidelined with a hip injury.

Meanwhile, Pritchard is in Gosford, New South Wales this week, keeping tabs on the performances of Spirit youngsters Kara Tessari and Ahlise Hurst at the  national under-20 championships.

Tessari scored nine points, five rebounds and two assist and Hurst  finished with five points and two assists in Victoria’s 100-37 opening round win over Tasmania on Wednesday.