She heard her name called, rose from her seat and happily hugged her sister Lauren. The literal Plum of the WNBA Draft had just gone No. 1 overall to the San Antonio Stars.
“Honestly, it’s an unreal feeling,” Kelsey Plum said Thursday night at the Samsung 837 event venue in Manhattan. “I’ve been dreaming about it for so long. I’m just very, very grateful.”
With the second overall pick in the 2016 draft, the Stars selected UConn point guard Moriah Jefferson to form a formidable backcourt with All-Star shooting guard Kayla McBride. With the top pick this time, the Stars couldn’t help themselves. They went for another point guard. But this wasn’t just another point guard.
After a 7-27 season that included a season-ending injury to McBride in early July, they chose the 5-8 player from the University of Washington known as “the James Harden of the women’s game,” the woman who claimed six national player of the year awards, the player who’s the all-time leading scorer in NCAA women’s basketball history with 3,527 points.
“I feel like I can play on the ball, off the ball,” Plum said. “It’s going to be a little out of my comfort zone, but I think that’s when you grow the most.”
Plum will return to New York on May 13 for her regular-season debut against the Liberty.
“She’s a pretty special offensive talent,” ESPN’s Rebecca Lobo said last week.
The Liberty selected another 5-8 point guard, Notre Dame’s Lindsay Allen, with its top choice, the 14th overall pick, the second pick of the second round. Allen is the ACC’s all-time leader in assists. In the third round, the Liberty took 6-5 center Kai James from Florida State.
Chicago chose 6-4 South Carolina center Alaina Coates second overall. Dallas owned three of the top 10 picks and selected 6-3 Kentucky forward-center Evelyn Akhator third, 6-foot South Carolina guard Allisha Gray fourth and 6-2 South Carolina guard Kaela Davis 10th. In the third round, the Wings took 5-8 UConn guard Saniya Chong.
Davis is following in the family business. She’s the daughter of former NBA player Antonio Davis.
“To have kind of a legacy going on,” she said, “it means a lot to me to just to be able to carry the Davis name and be able to kind of extend it a little bit.”