Troy’s Ashley Beverly Kelley inks pro deal in Israel

TROY, Ala. (  – Former Troy women’s basketball standout Ashley Beverly Kelley has signed to play professionally for Hapoel Rishon LeZion in Ligat Ha Al (Israeli Premier League), the top division in Israeli basketball.

Beverly Kelley is the all-time steals leader at Troy and ranks second with 1,973 career points. She recently completed her storied career by leading the Trojans to the 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament title and the program’s second-ever NCAA Tournament berth.

“I’m excited about it,” she said. “I have talked to several people who have played in Israel and they said the basketball environment is sort of a melting pot. There are several Americans playing there, so that will definitely help.”

Though excited about the opportunity, Beverly Kelley is aware of the challenges that lie ahead.

“It is going to be a different style of basketball; some rules are called a little differently than in the United States, so that will definitely be a challenge,” she said. “I’m looking forward to learning and progressing and hopefully coming back and having the opportunity to play in the WNBA.”

Beverly Kelley will be forever remembered for knocking down a pull-up jumper from the free throw line with 21 seconds remaining in the Sun Belt Championship Game. The shot was the difference in Troy’s 61-60 win over Little Rock.

Hapoel Rishon LeZion is an athletic club that sponsors multiple sports. The women’s basketball program began play in 2010 and reached the Israeli Cup semifinals in 2011. With a population of 235,000, Rishon LeZion is the fourth largest city in Israel and is located five miles south of Tel Aviv.

The Adamsville, Ala., native reports in October and the first game of the league’s regular season will take place later that month.

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