2016 WNBA Draft Recap: Breanna Stewart No. 1 Pick
Breanna Stewart went No. 1 overall to the Seattle Storm during the 2016 WNBA draft. The leader of the national championship-winning Connecticut Huskies was taken with the top pick and she will be the next in line of great players to play for Seattle. Plus, it gives point guard Sue Bird some help before she retires.
Stewart became the fifth UConn player selected first overall when the Seattle Storm made official what people had expected ever since the Storm won the lottery back in September. Seattle adds Stewart to a roster that includes last year’s top overall pick and WNBA Rookie of the Year, Jewell Loyd.
UConn’s Big Night at the 2016 WNBA Draft
Following Stewart were her two teammates at UConn. Moriah Jefferson was taken by the San Antonio Stars and Morgan Tuck staying in the state she played college ball, going to the Connecticut Sun with the third pick in the draft.
It was the first time in draft history — WNBA or NBA — that a single school produced the top three picks in the same draft. Only twice in WNBA Draft history have two players from the same school been selected at 1-2: USC in the inaugural draft in 1997 (Tina Thompson and Pamela McGee) and Connecticut in 2002 (Sue Bird and Swin Cash), when they also had three of the top four picks (Asjha Jones at No. 4) and four of the top six (Tamika Williams at No. 6).
The San Antonio Stars selected Jefferson second overall, who will return to play in her home state. The Stars are in need of a playmaker after losing their main creator from last season, Danielle Robinson, who will miss the entire 2016 season after undergoing surgery on her Achilles. Jefferson is the perfect candidate to fill that void, while also helping San Antonio where they struggled most, on offense.
The State of Connecticut Big Winners
The state of Connecticut came away winners Thursday. Not only were the first three picks all UConn stars, but the Connecticut Sun were on the clock at No. 4. One pick after taking Tuck, they drafted Minnesota star scorer Rachel Banham.
The Sun could certainly use more scoring punch after last year. Banham was the one who scored 60 points in a February game over Northwestern. She was already considered one of the best scorers in this class, but that game put her on the basketball map.
Other WNBA Draft Highlights
The first pick outside the lottery was made by the Dallas Wings, who acquired the pick from the Los Angeles Sparks. The Wings selected forward Aerial Powers from Michigan State. Dallas filled a need on the wing with Powers, who is a versatile player that will fit nicely next to one of the league’s best backcourts of Skylar Diggins and Odyssey Sims.
The Los Angeles Sparks briefly filled a need up front when they selected the 6-foot-6 Jonquel Jones from George Washington with the sixth pick. The Sparks then traded the rights to Jones and their 17th overall pick in this year’s draft to the Sun for Connecticut’s 15th and 23rd overall picks, Chelsea Gray as well as the Sun’s first round pick in 2017.