Jewell Loyd goes first in 2015 WNBA Draft to Seattle, LA Sparks pick Crystal Bradford

April 17, 2015

The Seattle Storm greatly upgraded their franchise in just a few short minutes, as the team owned two of the top three draft choices in the 2015 WNBA Draft, selecting Notre Dame’s Jewell Loyd with the first overall pick and UConn’s Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis with the third pick.

The Tulsa Shock chose Sweden native Amanda Zahui B. of Minnesota with the second overall selection.

Loyd, the first Notre Dame player to be selected No. 1 overall in draft history, was a consensus First Team All-America selection and the ACC Player of the Year this season. She led the Fighting Irish to the national championship game the past two years and was named espnW’s 2014-15 National Player of the Year.

Mosqueda-Lewis, a three-time national champion and All-America honoree, is the NCAA’s all-time leader in three-pointers (398).

In just two active seasons, Zahui B. set a Minnesota record for career blocks (240). This season, she became the first Golden Gophers player named to the AP All-America First Team after ranking fourth in Division I in both rebounds (12.9 rpg) and blocks (4.09 bpg).

With the fourth overall pick, the Connecticut Sun selected Duke’s Elizabeth Williams, who was the first ACC player to earn AP All-America honors all four seasons. The Chicago Sky rounded out the top five by selecting forward Cheyenne Parker, who averaged a double-double and set Middle Tennessee State’s single-season blocks mark this year.

The San Antonio Stars selected Wake Forest’s all-time scoring and rebounding leader Dearica Hamby with the sixth overall pick.

The Los Angeles Sparks selected Crystal Bradford with the 7th overall pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft.

“An explosive, athletic player, Crystal is a great passer and truly does everything well,” said Sparks General Manager Penny Toler.  “She has the capability of playing both the two and the three positions and is excellent in the open court.”

The 6-0 guard out of Central Michigan finished her four-year career ranked atop the school’s record books in four categories: scoring (2,006), rebounding (1,140), made field goals (805) and blocked shots (177).  The only player in history to score 2,000 career points, she also finished her career ranked third in steals (278) and fourth in assists (384).

”Crystal is an athletic wing player that has great length and great versatility,” said Sparks coach Brian Agler. “She has great instincts for the game and does more than score. Crystal can defend, create open shots for her teammates and she rebounds aggressively.  We are excited Crystal will be part of the Los Angeles Sparks.”

Bradford averaged 19.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals in 22 games played as a senior (2014-15).  She finished the year named an All-MAC Second Team selection, WBCA Region 4 All-American nominee and named the women’s basketball High-Major Player of the Year.  She was also the 2014 MAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

After the Los Angeles Sparks tapped Bradford at No. 7, the Washington Mystics grabbed Dayton guard Ally Malott with the eighth overall selection. San Antonio traded the No. 9 pick to the New York Liberty in exchange for Alex Montgomery. With the ninth selection, the Liberty selected Brittany Boyd, California’s all-time record holder for assists and steals.

After Iowa standout Samantha Logic went 10th to the Atlanta Dream, the Liberty made its second trade of the night, acquiring the No. 11, No. 23, and No. 28 selections from the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for Anna Cruz and the No. 16 and No. 35 draft picks.

With the 11th pick, New York grabbed UConn center Kiah Stokes, the second Huskies player drafted in the first round. To close out the opening round, the defending champion Phoenix Mercury selected Tennessee center Isabelle Harrison, a First Team All-SEC honoree, at No. 12.

The Shock tipped off the second round by grabbing Pittsburgh’s Brianna Kiesel at No. 13, followed by the Sparks selecting Cierra Burdick with the 14th overall pick.

“Cierra is an excellent player capable of playing multiple positions,” said Toler. “Additionally, I’m impressed with her leadership on and off the court. She can pass, run the floor and rebound at both ends of the court and will be a great addition to our roster.”

The 6-2 forward out of the University of Tennessee averaged 8.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 132 career games. An AP Honorable Mention All-American as a senior, she was also named to the Coaches All-SEC First Team, the AP All-SEC Second Team and the SEC All-Tournament Team.  Starting 29 of 34 games, she led the team with nine double-doubles and was the Lady Vols leader in total assists (91), second-leading rebounder (7.6 rpg) and third leading scorer (11.0 ppg) per game.

“Cierra is a very versatile player that I have been watching since her freshman year,” said head coach Brian Agler.  “She has great toughness and game intelligence and has improved her three-point shooting.  She has expanded her game where she plays the three and four positions. One thing Cierra always does is she loves to make her teammates better. We are excited Cierra will be part of the Los Angeles Sparks.”

As a junior, Burdick ranked second on the team in rebounding (7.3 rpg) and 11th overall in the SEC to go along with 8.7 points for the season. She was named to the SEC All-Tournament Team averaging 8.3 points and 10.3 rebound in the Lady Vols’ run to their 17th NCAA title.  Burdick is also a four-time gold medalist with USA Basketball.

After Los Angeles selected Cierra Burdick from Tennessee with the 14th selection, the Washington Mystics went with St. Joseph’s Natasha Cloud at 15.

Rounding out the rest of the second round: the Lynx selected Reshanda Gray from California (16th); the Sky picked Rutgers’ Betnijah Laney (17th); Phoenix went with Wichita State’s Alex Harden (18th); the Sun selected Brittany Hrynko from DePaul at No. 19 and later traded her to Atlanta in exchange for Jasmine Thomas; the Storm went with Vicky McIntyre from Oral Roberts (20th); the Indiana Fever tapped Kansas’ Chelsea Gardner (21st); the Sky selected Aleighsa Welch from South Carolina (22nd); the Liberty picked Stanford’s Amber Orrange (23rd); and the Mercury took Zofia Hruscakova out of Slovakia (24th).

The third round opened with Tulsa selecting Nevada-Reno’s Mimi Mungedi at No. 25 overall.

The remainder of the third round included Seattle grabbing Nneka Enamkpali from Texas (26th); the Liberty tapping Maryland’s Laurin Mincy at No. 27 and Wisconsin’s Michala Johnson at No. 28; the Dream selecting Tennessee’s Ariel Massengale (29th); and the Stars tapping Dragana Stankovic from Serbia (30th);

In the third round, the Sparks selected Andrea Hoover from the University of Dayton  at 31st overall.

“Andrea is an excellent three-point shooter,” said Toler. “She will help us stretch the defense.”

Hoover, a 5-9 guard, finished her career averaging 14.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 127 games played. Dayton’s all-time leader in career made three-pointers (239) and three-point percentage (.398), she also ranks fourth all-time in points (1848).

“Andrea is one of the premier three-point shooters in the country,” said head coach Brian Agler. “She helped lead Dayton deep into the NCAA tournament. Andrea is a winner‎, a competitor and has a great work ethic. Although being taken in the third round, she has the ability to make our team.”

As a senior, she led the Flyers in scoring (17.4 ppg), was second in rebounding (6.3 rpg) She led the Atlantic 10 in three-point field goal percentage (.456), ranking fourth in the NCAA (D1), and also led the A-10 Conference in free-throw shooting (.893). She was named to the Atlantic-10 First Team, earning the honor three consecutive seasons.

Hoover became the first woman in Dayton’s basketball history to be named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, earning the award following her junior season (2013-14). Averaging 17.3 points per game, she led the team and was fourth in the A-10 in scoring. As a sophomore, she led the Flyers in 11 categories: points (401), points per game (12.9), field goals made (135), three point field goals made (54), free throws made (77) and offensive rebounds (68).

The Mystics then picked Marica Gajic from Bosnia and Herzegovina (32nd); San Antonio chose Iowa State’s Nikki Moody (33rd); Atlanta selected Lauren Okafor from James Madison (34th); the Lynx went with Minnesota’s Shae Kelley (35th); and the Mercury closed out the draft by tapping Arizona State’s Promise Amukamara (36th).

In the end, four Pac-12 women’s basketball players were selected in Thursday night’s WNBA Draft, including Cal standouts Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray. Also selected were Stanford’s Amber Orrange and Arizona State’s Promise Amukamara.

At least one player from the Pac-12 has been selected in the first round since 2006, including three first-round picks (1997 - Tina Thompson, USC; 2012 - Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Stanford; 2014 - Chiney Ogwumike, Stanford). It is also the fifth-consecutive year at least three players from the Conference have been picked in the Draft.

The Golden Bear duo mark the first time Cal teammates were drafted in the same year. A guard, Brittany Boyd (Berkeley, Calif.) was selected in the first round with the ninth pick in the draft by the New York Liberty. Forward Reshanda Gray (Los Angeles, Calif.), the 2015 Pac-12 Player of the Year, was the 16th overall pick, taken in the second round by the Minnesota Lynx. The pair helped California to four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

Stanford’s Amber Orrange (Houston, Texas) will be now call Boyd a teammate after being selected in the second round and 23rd overall by the Liberty. A guard, Orrange wrapped up a prolific collegiate career that saw the Cardinal make four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and two NCAA Final Four appearances, and claim three Pac-12 regular-season and tournament crowns.

ASU’s Promise Amukamara (Glendale, Ariz.) will stay local after being selected by the Phoenix Mercury in the third round and 36th overall. Amukamara helped the Sun Devils return to the NCAA Tournament in 2014, and helped ASU to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 2015. This season, Arizona State was the regular-season Pac-12 runner up and clinched the No. 3 seed in the postseason. She is the first Sun Devil to be drafted into the WNBA since Briann January in 2009.

The complete 2015 WNBA Draft results are:

First Round
1. Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Notre Dame
2. Amanda Zahui B. (Tulsa Shock), Minnesota
3. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Seattle Storm), UConn
4. Elizabeth Williams (Connecticut Sun), Duke
5. Cheyenne Parker (Chicago Sky), Middle Tennessee State
6. Dearica Hamby (San Antonio Stars), Wake Forest
7. Crystal Bradford (Los Angeles Sparks), Central Michigan
8. Ally Malott (Washington Mystics), Dayton
9. Brittany Boyd (New York Liberty), California
10. Samantha Logic (Atlanta Dream), Iowa
11. Kiah Stokes (New York Liberty), UConn
12. Isabelle Harrison (Phoenix Mercury), Tennessee

Second Round
13. Brianna Kiesel (Tulsa Shock), Pittsburgh
14. Cierra Burdick (Los Angeles Sparks), Tennessee
15. Natasha Cloud (Washington Mystics), St. Joseph’s
16. Reshanda Gray (Minnesota Lynx), California
17. Betnijah Laney (Chicago Sky), Rutgers
18. Alex Harden (Phoenix Mercury), Wichita State
19. Brittany Hrynko* (Connecticut Sun), DePaul
20. Vicky McIntyre (Seattle Storm), Oral Roberts
21. Chelsea Gardner (Indiana Fever), Kansas
22. Aleighsa Welch (Chicago Sky), South Carolina
23. Amber Orrange (New York LIberty), Stanford
24. Zofia Hruscakova (Phoenix Mercury), Slovakia

Third Round
25. Mimi Mungedi (Tulsa Shock), Nevada-Reno
26. Nneka Enamkpali (Seattle Storm), Texas
27. Laurin Mincy (New York Liberty), Maryland
28. Michala Johnson (New York Liberty), Wisconsin
29. Ariel Massengale (Atlanta Dream), Tennessee
30. Dragana Stankovic (San Antonio Stars), Serbia
31. Andrea Hoover (Los Angeles Sparks), Dayton
32. Marica Gajic (Washington Mystics), Bosnia and Herzegovina
33. Nikki Moody (San Antonio Stars), Iowa State
34. Lauren Okafor (Atlanta Dream), James Madison
35. Shae Kelley (Minnesota Lynx), Minnesota
36. Promise Amukamara (Phoenix Mercury), Arizona State

*Subsequently traded to Atlanta in exchange for Jasmine Thomas

By Staff of and news services

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