MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Lynx today announced the team has signed free agent forward Karima Christmas-Kelly. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are very excited to welcome Karima Christmas-Kelly and her husband, Austin, to the Minnesota Lynx family,” said Lynx Head Coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve. “Karima is known to be a fierce competitor who is also a tremendous teammate. These qualities, along with her versatility on the court offensively and defensively, make her a valuable addition to the Lynx roster.”
Christmas-Kelly, a WNBA champion with the Indiana Fever in 2012, joins the Lynx after eight seasons with the Dallas Wings organization, the Fever and Washington Mystics. In 235 career games, the Houston native holds averages of 8.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 23.3 minutes per game. In her best season to date, Christmas-Kelly averaged 12.4 points on 40.0% shooting, 5.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists, starting all 34 games for the Wings during the 2016 season. For her career, she has scored 20+ points 10 times and has seven double-doubles to her credit (four in 2016). Christmas-Kelly ranked among the league leaders in free throw attempts in three consecutive seasons (eight in 2015-133, ninth in 2016-162 and 13th in 2017-148), including shooting a career-high 85.1% from the line in 2017.
“I’m excited for this new journey and fully trusting this organization with the next step in my career,” said Christmas-Kelly. “I have been welcomed with open arms and I really appreciate the ‘family’ feeling I got from the beginning of this process. I’m both thankful and hungry for the opportunity to play in a Minnesota Lynx jersey.”
The eight-year veteran’s career includes five trips to the postseason. Christmas-Kelly’s best playoff appearance came in 2013 as she started all four games for the Fever, averaging 10.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists. She holds postseason averages of 7.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 25.3 minutes per game.
Christmas-Kelly was selected by Washington in the 2nd round (23rd overall) of the 2011 WNBA Draft. She split her rookie season between the Mystics and Tulsa Shock, being claimed off waivers by Tulsa on July 22, 2011, then was dealt by the Shock to Indiana on July 3, 2012 in return for Roneeka Hodges. Christmas-Kelly re-signed with Tulsa as a free agent prior to the 2015 season and moved with the franchise to Dallas the following year. She started 74 consecutive games for the Wings before undergoing season-ending knee surgery last June 12 that abbreviated her 2018 campaign to six appearances.
A 2011 graduate of Duke University, Christmas-Kelly became the 27th player in school history to score over 1,000 points in her career (1,052) and helped lead the Blue Devils to back-to-back ACC regular season and tournament titles during her final two years. Christmas-Kelly finished her college career ranked 10th in school history in steals (204). She was a part of 114 wins in her four seasons at Duke.
Christmas-Kelly will wear uniform #0.
The Lynx will tip off their 21st WNBA season on Sunday, May 25, at 7:00 p.m. vs. the Chicago Sky at Target Center. Full-season memberships, which include tickets to all 17 home games, are still available by visiting www.lynxbasketball.com/membership or by calling 612-673-8400.
Aaron Freeman, Minnesota Lynx, (612)-673-8413, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Perez, Minnesota Lynx, (612) 257-3850, email@example.com