Five Pac-12 players selected in WNBA Draft
SAN FRANCISCO - Five Pac-12 women’s basketball players were selected in Wednesday night’s WNBA Draft at Nike Headquarters in New York City, including first-round picks Alanna Smith from STANFORD and Kristine Anigwe from CALIFORNIA, marking the third-straight year two players from the Conference have been selected in the first round. Anigwe and Smith were two of only 12 prospects invited to attend the WNBA Draft.
Alanna Smith (Melbourne, Australia) was selected in the first round with the eighth overall pick by the Phoenix Mercury. The Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, she is a 2019 WBCA All-American after leading the Cardinal to a Pac-12 Tournament title and a NCAA Elite Eight appearance this season. In her final campaign, she averaged 19.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game while shooting 51.5 percent from the field, including 39.7 shooting from three-point range, en route to earning a second-straight All-Pac-12 nod. Smith is the 26th all-time Stanford player to be selected in the WNBA Draft and first since 2017 when Erica McCall was picked.
Kristine Anigwe (Phoenix, Ariz.) was selected in the first round with the ninth overall pick by the Connecticut Sun. She was a four-time All-Pac-12 honoree, capping her senior campaign winning the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year award, while also earning Associated Press All-American honors. She enters the professional ranks after having tallied program records of 2,591 points and 1,407 rebounds over her four seasons as a Golden Bear, both ranking fourth and third, respectively, in Pac-12 history. She is ninth all-time Golden Bear to be selected in the WNBA Draft and the first since 2015 when Reshanda Gray and Brittany Boyd were picked.
UCLA’s Kennedy Burke (Northridge, Calif.) was selected with the 10th pick of the second round, and 22nd overall, by the Dallas Wings. Burke averaged 15.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in her senior season, both career highs. An Ann Meyers Drysdale Award (national shooting guard award) nominee, she led UCLA to a fourth-straight NCAA Sweet 16 this season. Burke is the 12th all-time Bruin to be selected in the WNBA Draft and the third since last season.
OREGON’s Maite Cazorla (Las Palmas, Spain) was selected with the 11th pick of the second round, and 23rd overall, by the Atlanta Dream. She closed out her career in Eugene as a two-time All-Pac-12 honoree, ranking seventh all-time in Pac-12 history with 691 assists. She is one of just 13 player all-time in league history with at least 600 career assists. She helped the Ducks to a second-straight Pac-12 regular-season crown and a No. 2 NCAA Tournament seeding where they advanced to the program’s first-ever NCAA Women’s Final Four. Cazorla is the eighth all-time Duck to be selected in the WNBA Draft and first since Jillian Alleyne in 2016.
UTAH’s Megan Huff (Federal Way, Wash.) was selected with the second pick of the third round, and 26th overall, by the New York Liberty. Huff had career highs of 19.6 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, leading the Utes to a historic season which saw them win a program-record nine league games and earning an Associated Press top-25 ranking for the first time in 11 years. She was a two-time All-Pac-12 selection. Huff is the sixth all-time Ute to be selected in the WNBA Draft and the first since 2014 when Michelle Plouffe was picked.
The five drafted players is the most for the Pac-12 since 2016 when seven were selected. The Conference has had at least four players drafted every year since 2014. At least one has been taken in the first round in 13 of the last 14 years.
The WNBA preseason schedule begins Thursday, May 9 with the regular season tipping off on Friday, May 24 with the Atlanta Dream hosting the Dallas Wings and the New York Liberty welcoming the Indiana Fever to the Big Apple.