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Aubree Johnson- Pac 10 All Tournament

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Johnson to forgo WNBA

Westerberg, Johnson to forgo WNBA

ASU teammates return to area in wake of death
Dave Trimmer
Staff writer
May 10, 2007

Emily Westerberg, who was so fired up when she was selected in the WNBA draft just more than a month ago, is hanging up her sneakers.

"It would be awesome to play in the WNBA, but it's more important to build relationships than move on with my career," the former Central Valley and Arizona State star said.

Westerberg was drafted in the third round by the Phoenix Mercury, who also invited her best friend and ASU teammate Aubree Johnson, a former star at Post Falls, to try out.

Initially, they decided to forgo professional basketball to join the ASU team on a trip to Italy, leaving next week.

"If we would have played one day of camp or signed a contract, we wouldn't have been eligible to go," Westerberg said. "It's important because these are people we love and these relationships are something we cherish. It's more important to me than trying to build a name in the professional league."

With the recent death of Johnson's father, Tom, in a motorcycle accident, Westerberg and Johnson aren't going to Italy.

"We're hanging in there," Westerberg said. "Your faith is something that gets you through. That's the only thing you can count on.

"I'm still glad I didn't try it. I would have had to miss other things."

Tom Johnson's funeral is Saturday in Post Falls.

Both players, who were co-captains and All-Pac-10 as seniors in Arizona State's most successful season in history, have moved home.

Johnson has finished her degree in kinesiology but is undecided about her future plans.

Westerberg has her student teaching before getting her degree in elementary education. She plans to do that in Spokane and coach with the Spokane Stars program.

Westerberg is getting married to former Sun Devils football player Grayling Love on July 8.