Connecticut’s Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck, who this year became the first NCAA basketball players – male or female – to win four consecutive Division I championships, were selected with the first three picks of WNBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm at Mohegan Sun Arena. This marks the first time in WNBA history that the top three players are from the same school.
The Seattle Storm used the first pick of the draft to select Stewart, the only player in college basketball history to be named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player four times. Stewart, a three-time Associated Press National Player of the Year, joins a Storm team that includes last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Jewell Loyd, the reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year presented by Samsung.
With the second pick, the San Antonio Stars chose Jefferson, a consensus All-America First Team selection for the 2015-16 season and the Huskies’ all-time assists leader. The Connecticut Sun followed by taking Tuck, who earned AP All-America Second Team honors in her final season at UConn.
The Sun also had the fourth pick and selected Rachel Banham, the Big Ten career scoring leader (3,093 points), who tied the NCAA single-game record of 60 points at Northwestern and tallied 52 at Michigan State this past season. The Dallas Wings rounded out the top five by picking Michigan State’s Aerial Powers, the Spartans’ first three-time All-Big Ten First Team selection.
With the sixth pick, the Los Angeles Sparks made George Washington’s Jonquel Jones the first player from her university to go in the first round. The Sparks then traded Jones and the 17th pick to the Sun for guard Chelsea Gray, the 15th and 23rd picks in this year’s draft and Connecticut’s first-round pick in 2017.
The Washington Mystics used the seventh pick on Rutgers’ Kahleah Copper, the third-leading scorer in school history, and the Phoenix Mercury followed at No. 8 with South Florida’s Courtney Williams, who led the American Athletic Conference with 22.4 points this past season. The Indiana Fever, picking ninth, drafted two-time SEC Player of the Year Tiffany Mitchell of South Carolina.
For the final three picks of the first round, the Chicago Sky selected three-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team choice Imani Boyette of Texas (10th); the Atlanta Dream drafted three-time All-Big 12 First Team honoree Bria Holmes of West Virginia (11th); and the New York Liberty chose 2015-16 All-SEC Second Team selection Adut Bulgak of Florida State (12th).
WNBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm took place one month before tip-off of the league’s landmark 20thseason. The WNBA regular season begins Saturday, May 14 with five games, highlighted by an ESPN telecast of the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx and the Mercury at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The Dream tipped off the second round by selecting Rutgers’ Rachel Hollivay with the 13th pick, followed by the Lynx choosing Jazmon Gwathmey of James Madison with the 14th pick and the Sparks adding Florida Gulf Coast’s Whitney Knight with the 15th pick. Minnesota traded Gwathmey to San Antonio for guard Jia Perkins.
Rounding out the rest of the second round: The Dream drafted Courtney Walker of Texas A&M (16th); the Sun picked Oregon State’s Jamie Weisner (17th); the Wings chose Oregon State’s Ruth Hamblin (18th); the Mystics took Lia Galdeira of Bulgaria-NBL (team Haskovo) (19th); the Mercury picked Oregon’s Jillian Alleyne; the Fever selected Maryland’s Brene Moseley (21st); the Lynx chose Bashaara Graves of Tennessee (22nd); the Sparks drafted Brianna Butler (23rd); and the Liberty picked Ohio State’s Ameryst Alston (24th).
The third round opened with the Stars selecting Brittney Martin of Oklahoma State at No. 25 overall. The rest of the third round went as follows: The Storm picked BYU’s Lexi Eaton Rydalch (26th); the Sun drafted St. John’s Aliyyah Handford (27th); the Dream chose Baylor’s Niya Johnson (28th); the Sparks selected Washington’s Talia Walton (29th); the Wings chose Shakena Richardson of Seton Hall (30th); the Mystics drafted St. John’s Danaejah Grant (31st); the Mercury selected UCLA’s Nirra Fields (32nd); the Fever chose Julie Allemond of Belgium (33rd); the Sky drafted Texas A&M’s Jordan Jones (34th); the Lynx picked USC’s Temi Fagbenle (35th); and the Liberty selected Georgia’s Shacobia Barbee (36th).
The complete draft results are:
- Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm), UConn
- Moriah Jefferson (San Antonio Stars), UConn
- Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun), UConn
- Rachel Banham (Connecticut Sun), Minnesota
- Aerial Powers (Dallas Wings), Michigan State
- Jonquel Jones* (Los Angeles Sparks), George Washington
- Kahleah Copper (Washington Mystics), Rutgers
- Courtney Williams (Phoenix Mercury), South Florida
- Tiffany Mitchell (Indiana Fever), South Carolina
- Imani Boyette (Chicago Sky), Texas
- Bria Holmes (Atlanta Dream), West Virginia
- Adut Bulgak (New York Liberty), Florida State
- Rachel Hollivay (Atlanta Dream), Rutgers
- Jazmon Gwathmey# (Minnesota Lynx), James Madison
- Whitney Knight (Los Angeles Sparks), Florida Gulf Coast
- Courtney Walker (Atlanta Dream), Texas A&M
- Jamie Weisner (Connecticut Sun), Oregon State
- Ruth Hamblin (Dallas Wings), Oregon State
- Lia Galdeira (Washington Mystics), Bulgaria-NBL (team Haskovo)
- Jillian Alleyne (Phoenix Mercury), Oregon
- Brene Moseley (Indiana Fever), Maryland
- Bashaara Graves (Minnesota Lynx), Tennessee
- Brianna Butler (Los Angeles Sparks), Syracuse
- Ameryst Alston (New York Liberty), Ohio State
- Brittney Martin (San Antonio Stars), Oklahoma State
- Lexi Eaton Rydalch (Seattle Storm), BYU
- Aliyyah Handford (Connecticut Sun), St. John’s
- Niya Johnson (Atlanta Dream), Baylor
- Talia Walton (Los Angeles Sparks), Washington
- Shakena Richardson (Dallas Wings), Seton Hall
- Danaejah Grant (Washington Mystics), St. John’s
- Nirra Fields (Phoenix Mercury), UCLA
- Julie Allemond (Indiana Fever), Belgium
- Jordan Jones (Chicago Sky), Texas A&M
- Temi Fagbenle (Minnesota Lynx), Southern California
- Shacobia Barbee (New York Liberty), Georgia
* Traded, along with 17th pick, to Connecticut Sun for guard Chelsea Gray, the 15th and 23rd picks in this year’s draft and Connecticut’s first-round pick in 2017.
#Traded to San Antonio for guard Jia Perkins.