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Texas Had a Good Night at the WNBA Draft

The San Antonio Stars got the best player in the 2017 draft in Kelsey Plum, but the Dallas Wings had three picks in the top ten.

by Astasia Williams
Apr 14 2017, 2:25pm

The 2017 WNBA draft, which has been called one of the most talented in league history, is officially in the books. While the event took place in New York City, it was a quiet night for the New York Liberty. Instead, the San Antonio Stars, the Chicago Sky, and the Dallas Wings made the most noise on Thursday, especially in the first round.

This year's Naismith Trophy winner and the NCAA's all-time leading scorer, Kelsey Plum, can add "No. 1 overall pick" to her resume as she heads south to join the San Antonio Stars. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple of years, this wasn't a big surprise. Plum scored a total of 3,527 points in her career at the University of Washington and broke the NCAA single-season scoring record with 1,109 points this year. For a Stars team that won only seven games last season and finished dead last in scoring, she's expected to go in and make an immediate impact.

"I'm extremely grateful. The Pac-12 has been so good to me," Plum said. "So, thank you, Pac- 12. The University of Washington has prepared me for this moment. I'm excited."

Moving upstate to Dallas, the Wings dominated the first round with three picks in the top ten, two of which were used to grab a couple of NCAA champions. Last year, the dominance of the UConn women showed up on the draft board as they accounted for the first three picks in the 2016 draft. This year, fittingly, was all about the South Carolina Gamecocks. For the first time ever, the program had three players drafted in the first round. Alisha Gray and Kaela Davis were the No. 4 and No 10 picks, respectively, and will now play professionally in the same city they won the NCAA title earlier this month.

"It's amazing. I don't know many people that get to have this opportunity and share it with their teammates," Davis said. "For us, it means a lot. It means a lot to Coach [Dawn] Staley. We just hope that we can not only represent South Carolina well, but also women's basketball as a whole."

Rounding out the trio was Alaina Coates, who despite missing the national championship due to an ankle injury was selected No. 2 overall by the Chicago Sky (a pick acquired from the Washington Mystics in the Elena Delle Donne trade).

One of the bigger sleepers in the first round, Nia Coffey, became Northwestern University's first-ever first-round draft pick when the Stars selected her fifth overall. The six-foot-one forward left her mark in Evanston, Illinois, as the all-time leader in rebounds (1,183), second in career points (2,287), and the first player to earn Big Ten honors all four years. She was the fifth player in Big Ten history to finish with 2,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds. The pairing of Plum and Coffey together in San Antonio will be something to keep an eye on this WNBA season.

"Clearly, Kelsey can score so that's awesome," Coffey said. "I feel like I can play both inside and outside. Whatever coach needs me to do, I can do. I'm excited to get there."

Elsewhere around the league, the Mystics provided extra scoring to their roster by taking Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, who averaged 18.8 points per game at Maryland, at No. 6. The defending champion Los Angeles Sparks clearly aim to keep their top spot in three-point shooting with their selection of Oregon State's Sydney Wiese, the Pac-12 career record-holder for three-pointers. L.A. may have trouble holding on to that particular crown, though, because this draft was filled with assassin scorers who will now be making their marks around the league.

And now with the season a month away, all we have to do is wait to see what this rookie class will bring to the 21st season of the WNBA.If you hadn't been paying attention to the league before, now's a pretty good time to start.

Here are all 36 picks made over three rounds:

  1. Kelsey Plum (Washington) – San Antonio Stars
  2. Alaina Coates (South Carolina) – Chicago Sky
  3. Evelyn Akhator (Kentucky) – Dallas Wings
  4. Allisha Gray (South Carolina) – Dallas Wings
  5. Nia Coffey (Northwestern) – San Antonio Stars
  6. Shatori Walter-Kimbrough (Maryland) – Washington Mystics
  7. Brittney Sykes (Syracuse) – Atlanta Dream
  8. Brionna Jones (Maryland) – Connecticut Sun
  9. Tori Jankoska (Michigan State) – Chicago Sky
  10. Kaela Davis (South Carolina) – Dallas Wings
  11. Sydney Wiese (Oregon State) – Los Angeles Sparks
  12. Alexis Jones (Baylor) – Minnesota Lynx
  13. Shayla Cooper (Ohio State) – Connecticut Sun
  14. Lindsay Allen (Notre Dame) – New York Liberty
  15. Alexis Peterson (Syracuse) – Seattle Storm
  16. Leticia Romero (Florida State) – Connecticut Sun
  17. Erica McCall (Stanford) – Indiana Fever
  18. Jennie Simms (Old Dominion) – Washington Mystics
  19. Jordan Reynolds (Tennessee) – Atlanta Dream
  20. Feyona Fitzgerald (Temple) – Indiana Fever
  21. Chantel Osahor (Washington) – Chicago Sky
  22. Ronni Williams (Florida) – Indiana Fever
  23. Breanna Lewis (Kansas State) – Dallas Wings
  24. Lisa Berkani (France) – Minnesota Lynx
  25. Schaquilla Nunn (Tennessee) – San Antonio Stars
  26. Saniya Chong (Connecticut) – Dallas Wings
  27. Mehryn Kraker (Wisconsin-GB) – Washington Mystics
  28. Jessica January (DePaul) – Connecticut Sun
  29. Alexis Prince (Baylor) – Phoenix Mercury
  30. Lanay Montgomery (West Virginia) – Seattle Storm
  31. Oderah Chidom (Duke) – Atlanta Dream
  32. Adrienne Motley (Miami-FLA) – Indiana Fever
  33. Makayla Epps (Kentucky) – Chicago Sky
  34. Kai James (Florida State) – New York Liberty
  35. Saicha Grant-Allen (Dayton) – Los Angeles Sparks
  36. Tahlia Tupaea (Australia) – Minnesota Lynx
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