Cardinal In The WNBA
The 2014 WNBA season tips off its 18th season Friday with five contests, and six Stanford alumnae represent the Cardinal throughout the league's opening-day rosters.
The campaign officially begins at 4 p.m. PT as 2014 No. 1 overall pick Chiney Ogwumike and 2011 first-round selection Kayla Pedersen lead the Connecticut Sun against the visiting New York Liberty at the Mohegan Sun.
Also on WNBA rosters to open the season are 2008 first-round pick Candice Wiggins and 2012 overall No. 1 pick Nnemkadi Ogwumike ( both with the Los Angeles Sparks), 2010 first-round pick Jayne Appel (San Antonio Stars) and 2004 first-round pick Nicole Powell (Seattle Storm).
All six Cardinal alumnae will be in action Friday, as in addition to Chiney Ogwumik and Pedersen taking the court with Connecticut, Appel and the Stars travel to Atlanta to face the Dream, while Nneka Ogwumike and Wiggins head to Seattle to face Powell and the Storm.
Powell begins her 11th WNBA campaign in Seattle, where she was signed as a free agent on May 14, while Wiggins opens up her seventh campaign with her third team in the Sparks, which signed her as a free agent in the offseason.
Pedersen begins her second season with the Sun after being traded to Connecticut from Tulsa in 2013, while Nneka Ogwumike and Appel begin their third and fifth seasons, respectively, with the teams that originally drafted them. Chiney Ogwumike will make her professional debut with Friday's contest against the Liberty.
Together, the five women (excluding Chiney Ogwumike, the only rookie of the bunch) have played in a total of 788 regular-season games. Two members of the group have also won an WNBA title: Candice Wiggins (2011, Minnesota Lynx) and Nicole Powell (2005, Sacramento Monarchs).
Stanford had a total of nine players in training camps with clubs during the offseason. Joslyn Tinkle and 2014 third-round pick Mikaela Ruef were in camp with Seattle before being cut two weeks ahead of the opener, and Jeanette Pohlen, a first-round pick of Indiana in 2011, was waived by the Fever this week after suffering a season-ending Achilles' tear.
Overall Stanford has had 26 players play in a regular-season WNBA game since the league's inception in 1997, with Chiney Ogwumike set to become the 27th. The program boasts 11 first-round draft picks and has had six players win a total of seven WNBA titles.