NCAA women’s all-time leading scorer Kelsey Plum of the University of the Washington was selected by the San Antonio Stars with the first overall pick of WNBA Draft 2017 held in New York.
"It’s an unreal feeling," said Plum. "I’ve been dreaming about it for so long. I’m just very grateful."
Plum, the Associated Press women’s basketball Player of the Year, finished her career with 3,527 points and scored an NCAA single-season record 1,109 points in 2016-17. The 5-8 guard joins a San Antonio team that used the second overall pick in last year’s draft to select guard Moriah Jefferson, who averaged 13.9 points and 4.2 assists as a rookie.
With their second pick in the top five, the Stars took four-time All-Big Ten First Team selection Nia Coffey of Northwestern at No. 5. The 6-1 forward is the first player in school history to record 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
The Los Angeles Sparks drafted Oregon State guard Sydney Wiese, a four-time All-Pac-12 choice and the conference’s career leader in three-pointers made with the 11th pick.
"She’s a tremendous asset because of her size," said ESPN analyst LaChina Robinson of Wiese. "She has amazing pick and roll IQ, can create her own shot and is a great decision maker with the ball in her hands. She was built to play in the WNBA.”
This year’s first round featured three players from 2017 NCAA champion South Carolina, starting with center Alaina Coates, who was chosen with the No. 2 pick by the Chicago Sky. Coates was an AP All-America honorable mention selection in each of the last two seasons.
The next two picks were made by the Dallas Wings, who selected Kentucky forward/center Evelyn Akhator with the third pick, and South Carolina guard Allisha Gray with the fourth pick. Akhator, a Nigeria native, averaged 15.9 points and an SEC-high 10.8 rebounds in 2016-17. Gray was named to the NCAA’s 2017 All-Final Four Team while helping the Gamecocks win their first national championship.
The Washington Mystics used the sixth pick to draft three-time All-Big Ten First Team selection Shatori Walker-Kimbrough of Maryland, a 5-9 guard who holds the conference record in three-point field goal percentage at 45.9.
Syracuse guard Brittney Sykes, the third-leading scorer in school history, was selected by the Atlanta Dream with the seventh pick.
Another Maryland player went eighth, with the Connecticut Sun taking center Brionna Jones, who led the NCAA in field goal percentage as a junior and senior. With the ninth pick, the Chicago Sky selected guard Tori Jankoska, the all-time scoring leader at Michigan State.
The Wings selected 2017 NCAA Stockton Regional Most Outstanding Player Kaela Davis of South Carolina tenth, and the Minnesota Lynx chose two-time All-Big 12 First Team member Alexis Jones of Baylor with 12th pick.
The Sun opened the second round by selecting Ohio State’s Shayla Cooper with the 13th pick, followed by the New York Liberty choosing Lindsay Allen of Notre Dame with the 14th pick, and the Storm adding Syracuse’s Alexis Peterson with the 15th pick.
Rounding out the second round: The Sun drafted Leticia Romero of Florida State (16th); the Indiana Fever picked Stanford’s Erica McCall (17th); the Mystics chose Old Dominion’s Jennie Simms (18th); the Dream took Tennessee’s Jordan Reynolds (19th); the Fever picked Temple’s Feyonda Fitzgerald (20th); the Sky selected Washington’s Chantel Osahor (21st); the Fever chose Florida’s Ronni Williams (22nd); the Wings drafted Kansas State’s Breanna Lewis (23rd); and the Lynx closed out the round by picking Lisa Berkani of France (24th).
The third round opened with the Stars selecting Schaquilla Nunn of Tennessee at No. 25 overall. The rest of the third round went as follows: Saniya Chong of the University of Connecticut to the Wings (26th); Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Mehryn Kraker to the Mystics (27th); DePaul’s Jessica January to the Sun (28th); Baylor’s Alexis Prince to the Mercury (29th); West Virginia’s Lanay Montgomery to the Storm (30th); Duke’s Oderah Chidom to the Dream (31st); Adrienne Motley of the University of Miami (Fla.) to the Fever (32nd); Kentucky’s Makayla Epps to the Sky (33rd); Florida State’s Kai James to the Liberty (34th); Dayton’s Saicha Grant-Allen to the Sparks (35th); and Tahlia Tupaea of Australia to the Lynx (36th).
The league’s 21st season tips off on Saturday, May 13, with a three-game schedule that features the defending WNBA champion Sparks hosting the Seattle Storm at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Complete results for WNBA Draft 2017 are below:
1. San Antonio Stars: Kelsey Plum, Washington, guard
2. Chicago Sky: Alaina Coates, South Carolina, center (pick from Washington)
3. Dallas Wings: Evelyn Akhator, Kentucky, forward/center
4. Dallas Wings: Allisha Gray, South Carolina, guard (pick from Connecticut via Los Angeles)
5. San Antonio Stars: Nia Coffey, Northwestern, forward (pick from Phoenix)
6. Washington Mystics: Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Maryland, guard (pick from Seattle)
7. Atlanta Dream: Brittney Sykes, Syracuse, guard
8. Connecticut Sun: Brionna Jones, Maryland, center (pick from Indiana)
9. Chicago Sky: Tori Jankoska, Michigan State, guard
10. Dallas Wings: Kaela Davis, South Carolina, guard (pick from New York)
11. Los Angeles Sparks: Sydney Wiese, Oregon State, guard (pick from Los Angeles via Dallas)
12. Minnesota Lynx: Alexis Jones, Baylor, guard
13. Connecticut Sun: Shayla Cooper, Ohio State, forward (pick from San Antonio via Phoenix)
14. New York Liberty: Lindsay Allen, Notre Dame, guard (pick from Dallas)
15. Seattle Storm: Alexis Peterson, Syracuse, guard (pick from Washington)
16. Connecticut Sun: Leticia Romero, Florida State, guard
17. Indiana Fever: Erica McCall, Stanford, forward (pick from Phoenix)
18. Washington Mystics: Jennie Simms, Old Dominion, guard (pick from Seattle)
19. Atlanta Dream: Jordan Reynolds, Tennessee, guard
20. Indiana Fever: Feyonda Fitzgerald, Temple, guard
21. Chicago Sky: Chantel Osahor, Washington, forward/center
22. Indiana Fever: Ronni Williams, Florida, forward (pick from New York via Atlanta)
23. Dallas Wings: Breanna Lewis, Kansas State, center (pick from Los Angeles)
24. Minnesota Lynx: Lisa Berkani, France, guard
25. San Antonio Stars: Schaquilla Nunn, Tennessee, forward
26. Dallas Wings: Saniya Chong, Connecticut, guard
27. Washington Mystics: Mehryn Kraker, Wisconsin-Green Bay, forward
28. Connecticut Sun: Jessica January, DePaul, guard
29. Phoenix Mercury: Alexis Prince, Baylor, guard
30. Seattle Storm: Lanay Montgomery, West Virginia, center
31. Atlanta Dream: Oderah Chidom, Duke, forward
32. Indiana Fever: Adrienne Motley, Miami (Fla.), guard
33. Chicago Sky: Makayla Epps, Kentucky, guard
34. New York Liberty: Kai James, Florida State, center
35. Los Angeles Sparks: Saicha Grant-Allen, Dayton, center
36. Minnesota Lynx: Tahlia Tupaea, Australia, guard
Long Beach State coach accepts job at Washington
Following a memorable 2016-17 campaign that saw Long Beach State Women’s Basketball win the Big West Tournament championship, advance to the NCAA Tournament, and come just one point shy of becoming the first No. 15 seed to ever defeat a No. 2 seed, head coach Jody Wynn will leave the program to become the head coach at the University of Washington.
Unfortunately, Kelsey Plum will not be in uniform anymore for the Huskies.
“The excitement over the success of our women’s basketball team this season reverberated throughout the campus and community. This is a true testament to the leadership and tireless effort of Jody Wynn,” said President Jane Close Conoley. “Coach Wynn, her staff, and the student-athletes under her charge have all been great ambassadors for the university. We made every effort to retain her, but ultimately, she decided to move on to a different challenge and I respect her decision.”
Wynn’s eight seasons at the Beach culminated in the first NCAA appearance for Long Beach State since 1991-92 and the first Big West Tournament championship for the program since 1990-91. The 49ers went 23-11 overall in 2016-17 and finished second in the Big West with a 12-4 record. Long Beach State then went on to face Oregon State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and came up one point short against the No. 8 Beavers, falling 56-55.
Women’s Basketball at the Beach under Wynn showed consistent improvement. After two seasons of rebuilding, Long Beach State made a run to the Big West Tournament finals in her third season. Long Beach State would then go on to make the WNIT in three of the next four years. Over the last three seasons under Wynn, Long Beach State has posted a 69-20 overall record.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services