San Antonio also selects Northwestern forward Nia Coffey with No. 5 pick and Tennessee forward Schaquilla Nunn at No. 25
SAN ANTONIO (April 13, 2017) – With the first overall pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, the San Antonio Stars selected guard Kelsey Plum from the University of Washington. The Stars also selected forward Nia Coffey of Northwestern (5th overall) and forward Schaquilla Nunn of Tennessee (25th overall) in Thursday’s draft.
“We are fortunate this year to add very talented players to our roster moving forward,” said Stars General Manager Ruth Riley. “Kelsey Plum has rewritten the collegiate history books as a dynamic scorer, but more than that, she emulates the work ethic and character that are foundational to our culture here in San Antonio.”
“We feel very fortunate to have been able to capitalize on our number one pick and acquire Kelsey Plum,” said Stars Head Coach Vickie Johnson. “We think that she will be able to contribute and expand her knowledge of the game, which has the potential to make her a standout player here in the WNBA, as she was in Washington. All of her recent accolades speak for themselves and we are confident that she will hold great value for our organization.”
A 5-8 guard from Washington, Plum set the NCAA women’s record for career points (3,527) and points in a season (1,109, 2016-17). She ranks second all-time – male or female – in NCAA history for career points, behind Pete Maravich’s 3,667. She finished her college career averaging 25.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in 37.4 minutes over 139 career games while also breaking a 33-year-old NCAA career free throw record, sinking 912.
“It’s an honor to be a member of the Stars,” said Plum. “I’m a big fan of both Moriah [Jefferson] and Kayla’s [McBride] games. I’ve gotten the opportunity to play with Moriah twice and Kayla, I watched her play in college and the pros and she’s one of my favorite players. It’s special and I’m super excited. I’m going to go in and be super competitive and tough and see what happens.”
Plum was an All-American First Team selection in her junior and senior seasons and All-Pac-12 each of her four years at Washington. Additionally as a senior, Plum received 2017 Naismith College Player of the Year honors, the 2017 John R. Wooden Award for Women’s Player of the Year, the Nancy Lieberman Award, the Dawn Staley Award, the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as USBWA National Player of the Year and won the 2017 Wade Trophy as the NCAA Division I Player of the Year. The 22-year-old was named the AP Women’s Basketball Player of the Year, the espnW National Player of the Year and was a unanimous pick for both the AP All-America First Team and the espnW All America First Team.
A four-time All-Big Ten First Team selection, Coffey’s selection marks the highest draft pick in Northwestern women’s basketball history. She was also the first player in school history to earn All-Big Ten First Team honors in four consecutive seasons. The 6-1 forward set a school record by scoring in double figures in 66 straight games, a mark she set from Jan. 22, 2015, to Jan. 14, 2017. In 128 career college games with the Wildcats, Coffey averaged 17.9 points and 9.2 rebounds in 32.4 minutes.
“We are very excited to welcome Nia Coffey to our team,” said Johnson. “Her strength and athleticism is something we love about Nia. We expect that her aggressive play will seamlessly transition to this league and to our lineup.”
The Minneapolis native was also the first Northwestern player with 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds and just the fifth Big Ten player to tally 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. She was an AP All-America honorable mention selection as a senior and ended her collegiate career as the program leader in rebounds (1,183) and free throws made (496).
“Just seeing the people on the roster, they are elite athletes,” said Coffey. “It makes me believe we are part of something great that’s building, and we can elevate our games to help this team. I’m excited to see where this takes us in San Antonio.”
A 6-3 forward out of the University of Tennessee, Nunn averaged 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in 11.6 minutes over 32 games in her lone season with the Volunteers. Nunn previously played for three seasons from 2012-15 at Winthrop University where she averaged a double-double (11.2 points, 10.3 rebounds) in 30.6 minutes over 88 games. The Fayetteville, Ga. native holds Winthrop career records in rebounds (910) and blocked shots (279) while starting 86 of her 88 total games played.
“Schaquilla Nunn gives us depth and athleticism in our post rotation,” said Riley. “She is an aggressive rebounder and provides physical presence to the paint.”
Tonight’s selection marks the first time in San Antonio Stars history that the team has held the first overall pick in the WNBA Draft since moving from Salt Lake City in 2003. The franchise previously selected Margo Dydek as the No. 1 pick in the 1998 WNBA Draft as the Utah Starzz.