MIAMI (AP) — For Ruth Riley Hunter, a new beginning comes in an old spot.
Riley Hunter’s WNBA career started in Miami, and so will her NBA career. She debuts as a radio and television analyst for the Miami Heat on Monday, when the team begins the home portion of its preseason schedule against Orlando.
The Heat finalized her hiring about two weeks ago, and Riley Hunter — she prefers to use her married name now — is thrilled to get started.
“It’s exciting times as a woman to have this opportunity,” she said.
Riley Hunter will work radio for Heat home games and be an in-studio analyst on the television side when the team is on the road. She is the only woman scheduled to be a regular analyst on an NBA team’s radio broadcast this season, although five teams have women as analysts — at least in a part-time role — on their television broadcasts.
Also, more than half of the league’s 30 clubs have a female sideline reporter working at least some of the time.
“It’s no longer a story to hire a woman,” Riley Hunter said. “It’s the perspective and value and experience that matters.”
Riley Hunter spent her first two WNBA seasons with the now-defunct Miami Sol. She came to the Sol after leading Notre Dame to the 2001 national championship and quickly developed an affinity for Miami.
“When you get a plane ticket going from South Bend, Indiana, to South Beach, it’s usually a one-way ticket,” Riley Hunter said. “I made it my home.”
Riley has been a television and radio analyst for Notre Dame women’s games, and she’s also been a broadcaster for San Antonio’s WNBA and G League clubs.
She played in the WNBA for 13 seasons, most recently in 2013.