By John Eisel: CNJ sports writer
So far, so good for Cisti Greenwalt.
The Clovis native, who played in college at Texas Tech, is enjoying herself as she battles to make the roster of the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs.
“Everything’s been going really good,” said Greenwalt, who was taken in the third round of April’s draft. “Everything’s been a lot of fun and just a great experience.”
Sacramento coach John Whisenant has been impressed with Greenwalt so far.
“She’s handled herself well,” he said. “She belongs in this league, and she’s playing like I expected her to play.”
Greenwalt has played so well that she’s survived the first round of cuts going into Thursday’s exhibition game against the Phoenix Mercury.
“We had to get down to 15 yesterday (Monday), and I cut all guards,” Whisenant said. “I wanted to give Cisti and the other posts a chance to compete against each other.
“There are seven good posts, and we can keep five. Between now and May 20, we’ll have to decide.”
Greenwalt hopes she surprised a few people in the Monarchs opening exhibition game, when she scored a team-high 17 points against the Chinese National Team on Friday.
“Maybe the decisions are getting a little harder because he didn’t expect me to play like that,” said Greenwalt, who led Clovis to state titles in 1999 and 2000 and is the school’s all-time leading scorer. “Most people are used to it being all about my defense.”
The 6-foot-5 Greenwalt finished as the Texas Tech and Big 12 Conference career leader in blocks with 300, including 105 her senior year.
Greenwalt said playing with the Lady Raiders has helped her make the transition from college to the pros, which she said has been easier than moving from high school to college.
“Maybe I imagined it would be a little harder,” she said of professional basketball.
She has noticed an increase in the competitive intensity in practice and she expects that to increase as the days draw near to cut-down day.
However, the competition hasn’t led to bitterness off the court with teammates.
“It’s been great,” she said. “Everyone’s real nice and supportive.”
Greenwalt said if she was cut she’d probably play overseas because other WNBA teams would have their rosters set.
“It’s not pressure, it’s fun,” she said. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”
— CNJ sports writer Dave Wagner contributed to this story