By Carly Nevis
New York City, NY — Ten promising young women entered Samsung 837 tonight in New York City as former college basketball players and left as the WNBA’s newest class.
As most expected, the San Antonio Stars selected Washington’s Kelsey Plum.
“Honestly it’s an unreal feeling,” Plum said. “I’ve been dreaming about it for so long, so I’m just very grateful.”
After Plum, players from South Carolina’s national championship squad dominated the first round. The Gamecocks represented three of the top-10 picks in the draft.
Alaina Coates was selected second by the Chicago Sky and both Allisha Gray (4th), and Kaela Davis (10th) will be headed to the Dallas Wings.
“For me to go number two, especially in my situation, I’m just really excited about that,” stated Coates, who is recovering from a season-ending ankle injury and recently had surgery.
With a huge smile sprawled across her face, Gray shared a similar sentiment.
“It’s definitely been hectic winning a national championship and then deciding to declare for the draft,” Gray, who waived her final year of eligibility to turn pro said. “We are putting on for the Gamecocks.”
One of the most surprising picks of the night came with the third pick of the draft as Dallas selected Evelyn Akhator from Kentucky. Akhator will bring a lot of athleticism to the Wings at the post position with a very high ceiling of potential as she hasn't been playing basketball very long.
Joining the top four picks of the draft was Northwestern's forward Nia Coffey, who became the highest WNBA draft pick in Wildcat history as the fifth pick.
“I was getting really nervous, so I had my best friend talk to me about my puppy at home,” Coffey, who was selected by the San Antonio Stars said about waiting to hear her name called. “When it happened I was just overcome with so much happiness and excitement.”
Before the first round came to a close, Baylor’s Alexis’ Jones snuck her way in as the final and 12th pick.
“I always just played because I loved the game and as I got to college I realized that this game could take me a lot farther,” Jones said.
For Jones, and the other 35 women that were selected tonight, basketball has now brought them through college and to the mountain top of professional women’s basketball, the WNBA and tonight was just the first step.
First round results:
1. San Antonio – Kelsey Plum
2. Chicago – Alaina Coates
3. Dallas – Evelyn Akhator
4. Dallas – Allisha Gray
5. San Antonio – Nia Coffey
6. Washington – Shatori Walker-Kimbrough
7. Atlanta – Brittney Skyes
8. Connecticut – Brionna Jones
9. Chicago – Tori Jankosa
10. Dallas – Kaela Davis
11. Los Angeles – Sydney Wiese
12. Minnesota – Alexis Jones