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WNBA champ, Melrose High stand-out Ashley Shields honored with retired jersey

Ashley Shields set records in her time with Melrose high and went on to become the first ever WNBA player drafted from a JUCO — with a little help from Dad.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Ashely Shields' time on the Melrose High girl's basketball team will forever be etched into the school's history. 

“The time is finally now — I’m excited and I’m just happy,” Shield said. 

After winning a WNBA championship and countless league (as well as team MVP) awards, it was this night in front of her hometown, family and friends that made Ashley Shields the most anxious.

Not because Sheilds was coaching against her alma mater, not even because it was Arlington’s first game of the season, but because after years of waiting, Ashley’s jersey was retired at Melrose high.

This took place in front of all her supporters, including the one who played the biggest part in her making it to this point, her father.

“I did some great things in that gym," Ashley Shields said. "I made a name for myself.” 

Much like her father. 

“It means a whole lot to me because you know, I played there," Ron Shields said. "For one, I played there and I made a name for myself and she made a name for herself.”

Following his college career, Ron Shields sacrificed his opportunities overseas to stay home and train his daughter.  

“I said 'okay now, you know we are about to go to work now right?” Ron said. 

Countless nights and early mornings in the gym trained Ashley to become one of the best. 

“I’ve seen the talent in the WNBA and I said, you can play with them,” Ron said. 

Ashley went on to be the first-ever female drafted from a junior college to the WNBA.

“I can pick up the phone now and say, dad, thank you. If he had not done that, I wouldn’t be in a position now to even accomplish great things or even be here now giving back to the youth,” Ashley said. 

Now, with her high school jersey retired, Shields' legacy continues. Ashley is currently coaching young women to follow in her footsteps. 

Earning the respect of stars like Ja Morant and others with her dad watching every step of the way. 

“I love sitting back watching," Ron said. "She asks me questions, and I give her a little feedback, but I think I was a little tougher than her — she kind of mellow a little, but I was kind of tough." 

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