November 15, 2019

UCONN Takes Top 3 Spots in 2016 WNBA Draft; NY Liberty selects Adut Bulgak

Photos clockwise from top left: Breanna Stewart, drafted by the Seattle Storm; Moriah Jefferson, drafted by the San Antonio Stars; Morgan Tuck, drafted by the Connecticut Sun; and Adut Bulgat drafted by the New York Liberty Photos clockwise from top left: Breanna Stewart, drafted by the Seattle Storm; Moriah Jefferson, drafted by the San Antonio Stars; Morgan Tuck, drafted by the Connecticut Sun; and Adut Bulgat drafted by the New York Liberty Photo Credits appear on photos

Looking Ahead at WNBA’s 20th Year: new president Lisa Borders, Diana Taurasi returns, and it’s the last season for 10-time WNBA all-star Tamika Catchings

Last week was a historic week for the world of sports. The Golden State Warriors set the best record in NBA history, Kobe Bryant dropped 60 points in his final career game and the 20th WNBA Draft took place at the Mohegan Sun Arena for the third consecutive year. Thirty-six of the nation’s best women collegiate athletes were selected into the WNBA on Thursday night. For the first time in the history of the WNBA Draft, the top three selections all came from the same school. The Huskies from the University of Connecticut took the top three spots and dominated the first round of the draft just like they dominated the NCCA Championship earlier this year.

As expected, Breanna Stewart was selected first overall by the Seattle Storm, this is the second year that the Storm has had the number one pick. Expectations are set high for the 6’4 forward, she is a 4-time NCAA champion, 3-time player of the year and she is the only player to be named the NCAA Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player four years in a row. The Storm has not won a championship since 2010, hopefully, Stewart can keep her championship streak going at the professional level. The No.2 pick went to the San Antonio Stars, who selected Texas native, Moriah Jefferson. The Huskie also has 4 championship titles under her belt and was named the American Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Jefferson set a school record with a total of 659 career assist not to mention she is a 46% 3-point-shooter. Her versatility on the court is just what the Stars need this season.

It was a big night for the Connecticut Sun, who went home with two consecutive first round picks. Coming in at No.3 was Morgan Tuck from UConn. Aside from becoming a champion for the fourth time in her career, Tuck finished her final year with an assist-turnover ratio of 2.1/1, which was the second-best in the league. The No.4 selection, also for the Connecticut Sun, was Rachel Banham from the University of Minnesota. She is most remembered for her 60-point game earlier in the season, a performance that was recognized and duplicated by NBA star Kobe Bryant. Banham was named the 2016 BIG 10 player of the year and has set the all-time scoring record with 3,093 career points. The Dallas Wings, formerly known as the Tulsa Shock had the No.5 pick and they selected Aerial Powers from Michigan State. Powers is a 3-time first team All-American and set a school record with 47 career double-doubles.

The Los Angeles Sparks selected Jonquel Jones of George Washington as the No.6 overall draft pick, Jones is the only player to average a double-double for 3 consecutive seasons. At No.7, the Washington Mystics selected Kahleah Cooper of Rutgers University. Cooper sits at No.3 on Rutgers all-time scoring list behind, Cappie Pondexter and Sue Wicks. Courtney Williams of the University of Southern Florida was selected 8th overall by the Phoneix Mercury. The Indiana Fever selected Tiffany Mitchell as the 9th overall pick. Mitchell played for the University of Southern California and led her team with 85 assists this season. The 10th overall selection went to the Chicago Sky who picked Imani Boyette. Boyette played for Texas State and was named the BIG 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Boyette is the daughter of WNBA legend Pamela McGee, they are the first mother-daughter duo to have played for the league. The Atlanta Dream selected Bria Holmes of West Virginia 11th overall. The New York Liberty wrapped up the first round selecting Adut Bulgak 12th overall. Bulgak is a 6’4 center out of Florida State and was an Honorable Mention All-American in 2015.

Fans have a lot to look forward to this season as Diana Taurasi will make her return to the Phoenix Mercury, newly acquired WNBA president Lisa Borders will participate in her first active season and most importantly this will be the last season for 10-time WNBA all-star Tamika Catchings. The WNBA’s historic 20th anniversary season will kick off on May 14th.

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