Former Tar Heel Jessica Breland to Miss 2020 WNBA Season

Quierra Luck

The unknown and complexity of COVID-19 make the virus terrifying; the impact this virus will have on your body is different for each one of us, but at what expense are you willing to risk your life?

Former Tar Heel Jessica Breland had to make the difficult decision to forego her ninth WNBA season for the safety and betterment of her health. The WNBA 2014 All-Star is a cancer survivor; she beat Hodgkins Lymphoma during her North Carolina tenure. Her fear of remission led to her decision.

This would've been Breland's first season with Phoenix.

Breland shared,

"These last two weeks have been really hard for me. As a cancer survivor, you fear a relapse, but you never think about the long-term effects of chemotherapy reeked on your body. The threat of COVID-19 has forced me to acknowledge a harsh reality — although I am one of the top 144 WNBA players, my battle with cancer years ago left me vulnerable to coronavirus. With a heavy heart, I will be sitting out the upcoming WNBA season. I am blessed to have the Phoenix family behind me and their full support. I wish everyone the best in Florida, and I'll be thinking of you and cheering from afar!"

While at UNC her junior year, Breland underwent chemotherapy, successfully defeating cancer. Her senior season, 2010-2011, Breland bounced back without missing a step. She averaged 12.4 points, 1.6 assist, and 7.1 rebounds. In 2011 she was the recipient of the Honda Inspiration Award; the award is presented to a collegiate athlete who has overcome hardship and can return to play at the collegiate level. 

The WNBA returns Saturday, July 25th. There will be a competitive schedule of 22 regular season games leading to the traditional playoff format. 

All 12 teams will make IMG Academy their home. The facilities will serve as a single site for training camp, housing, and games. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert laid out the ground rules for return and their ultimate responsibility of keeping players and staff safe amid concerns of COVID-19.

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