This was the day WNBA fans, players and potential players anticipate before each season.
The WNBA draft can be full of surprises when it comes to who will be drafted first or in the first round.
But this year it was basically a no-brainer for the San Antonio Stars who had the first pick and used it to pick the University of Washington Huskies guard Kelsey Plum.
Plum, (Poway, CA) who this year broke the NCAA record for career points (3,527) and in a season (1,109), has won every award available including the Wooden, Naismith and AP player of the year.
With her family in attendance Plum seemed to take it all in stride at the new venue, the Samsung 837 in New York but excited to join San Antonio.
When asked about how she felt going to San Antonio Plum was quoted on the WNBA website saying, “I’m really excited. Coach Vickie [Johnson] has a great plan from what I hear. I’ve played with Moriah [Jefferson] before. She’s a phenomenal player. I’m a big fan of Kayla McBride. I’ve watched throughout her entire collegiate career and in the pros. I’m just grateful for the opportunity. I’m going to make the most of it.”
The venue sported technology all around. Reporters with 360 virtual reality gear, announcements being made in the “DJ booth” while draftees talked with a reporter separate from where the names were announced.
I admit it looked like fun but from a fan perspective I missed watching the athlete going up on stage and taking their picture with their new team jersey and though it seemed active and interactive it also was sterile of fans which is different from a league that is normally fan inclusive.
But the draft went on and it was good to the Pacific Northwest as The WNBA defending champion Los Angeles Sparks chose guard Sydney Wiese of the Oregon State Beavers with the 11th pick. Wiese was a 4-time All-Pac 12 selection and led Oregon State to their first final four in school history this year.
The Chicago Sky picked UW forward Chantel Osahor with the 21st pick. Osahor (Phoenix, AZ) was the Huskies all-time leading rebounder with 1,253 and lead the nation in rebounds per-game (15.8) and double-doubles (30). Osahor was named, along with Plum, to the WBCA Coaches’ All-America team.
The Storm didn’t have a first round pick but did have one each in Round 2 and 3. With a deep talented draft Seattle still had some great players to choose from and they used their 15th pick on Syracuse Orange guard Alexis Peterson and the 30th pick for center Lanay Montgomery of the West Virginia Mountaineers.
In her senior year Peterson became the all-time assist leader at Syracuse with 590 and started all 33 games averaging 23.4 points and seven assists a game. She was named Second Team AP All-American and became the first player in school history to be named ACC Player of the Year.
The 6-5 Montgomery ended her career 937 rebounds, 855 points and 330 blocked shots. She set the school’s career field goal percentage with 59.6 and was named to the Big 12 Defensive team her senior year.
2017 WNBA Draft Top Ten picks:
First pick – San Antonio Stars – Kelsey Plum G Washington
Second pick – Chicago Sky – Alaina Coates C South Carolina
Third pick – Dallas Wings – Evelyn Akhator F Kentucky
Fourth pick – Dallas Wings – Alisha Gray G South Carolina
Fifth pick – San Antonio Stars – Nia Coffey F Northwestern
Sixth pick – Washington Mystics – Shatori Walker-Kimbrough G Maryland
Seventh pick – Atlanta Dream – Brittney Sykes G Syracuse
Eighth pick – Connecticut Sun – Brionna Jones C Maryland
Ninth pick – Chicago Sky – Tori Jankoska G Michigan State
Tenth pick – Dallas Wings – Kaela Davis G South Carolina