Five Pac-12 women's basketball players selected in WNBA Draft
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - STANFORD’s Chiney Ogwumike is no stranger to making history, as the Pac-12’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder. On Monday evening, she was drafted No. 1 overall in the WNBA Draft following in the footsteps of her older sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike two years ago, who was also the No. 1 overall pick. The sisters became only the second set of siblings in a major American sport to each be drafted No. 1.
Chiney Ogwumike highlights five Pac-12 players who were taken in last night’s draft. After she was picked by the Connecticut Sun, UTAH’s Michelle Plouffe was selected seventh in the second round (19th overall) by the Seattle Storm, followed by USC’s Cassie Harberts who was picked eight in the second round and 20th overall by the Atlanta Dream. CALIFORNIA’s Gennifer Brandon was picked 22nd overall and 10th in the second round by the Chicago Sky, while STANFORd’s Mikaela Ruef was selected by the Storm with the seventh pick in the third round (31st overall).
The Ogwumike sisters join Peyton and Eli Manning of the NFL to each be taken with the first overall selection. Chiney Ogwumike top pick makes her the third player in Pac-12 history to be picked No. 1 in the WNBA’s college draft. Tina Thompson of USC was selected with the top pick by the Houston Comets in 1997, and her her sister Nnemkadi was the top selection in 2012.
The first player in Pac-12 women’s basketball history to win the John R. Wooden Award, Ogwumike leaves Stanford with 2,737 career points and 1,567 rebounds. She was a two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year and three-time Conference Defensive Player of the Year. A three-time All-American, she became the 11th player in league history to be named to the all-Conference team four times. This season, she led the Cardinal back to the NCAA Women’s Final Four, averaging 26.1 points and 12.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 60.1 percent from the floor.
In only three seasons in the Pac-12, Plouffe left her mark in the record book, scoring 1,620 points and grabbing 915 rebounds while in the Conference. That ranks 38th and 24th, all-time, in the Pac-12 record book. In four seasons at Utah, she tallied 2,100 points and 1,171 points. This season, she was named All-Pac-12 for the second-consecutive year and was an All-Region 8 selection by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).
Harberts led the Trojans to the program’s first-ever Pac-12 Tournament title as the team made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006. Harberts was a two-time All-Pac-12 selection and, this season, averaged 15.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. She was also named to the All-Region 8 team by the WBCA and leaves the Conference ranked among the top scorers (1,832, 23rd) and rebounders (925, T19th) in league history.
Brandon led the Golden Bears to the program’s first-ever NCAA Women’s Final Four this season and helped the team advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament this season. Though she spent the first half of the season sidelined, she ends her career with 1,219 career boards, putting her fifth all-time in league history. She was a preseason candidate for three national player of the year awards.
Ruef had a breakout season, averaging career highs of 7.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. She was named the NCAA Tournament Stanford Regional Most Outstanding Player, helping her team return to the Final Four after missing out last season. She named Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 this season.