By: Lorne Chan sastars.com
Kelsey Plum spent the past four years changing the landscape of college basketball. With a quick first step and quicker release, Plum drew comparisons to James Harden on the way to scoring the most career points in the history of NCAA women’s basketball.
Now, Kelsey Plum is coming to San Antonio as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft.
Plum, a 5-foot-8 guard from Washington, was the top pick in Thursday’s draft as the Stars had the No. 1 overall selection for the first time since moving to San Antonio in 2003. The Stars also had the No. 5 pick and took Northwestern’ s Nia Coffey.
“We added someone who has rewritten the record books,” said Stars general manager Ruth Riley. “You can’t get better than that. It’s an incredibly exciting night for the San Antonio Stars.”
Plum set the NCAA women’s records for career scoring (3,527) and points in a season (1,109 in 2016-17). As a junior, she took Washington to its first Final Four in school history.
The nation’s leading scorer with a 31.7-point average, Plum set the career scoring record with 57 points on the Huskies’ senior night. Her shooting clip was an astounding .529 percent from the field and .428 from 3-point range even as she faced constant double-teams. As she collected a truckload of national player of the year awards, the choice for No. 1 was clear.
“It’s just a surreal feeling,” Plum said. “I was a little bit nervous because I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long. I’m grateful for this opportunity that San Antonio’s given me.”
Eight of the past nine No. 1 overall picks went on to win the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award.
Plum joins a young Stars core that includes 2014 No. 3 overall pick Kayla McBride and 2016 No. 2 pick Moriah Jefferson.
With a new head coach in Vickie Johnson, along with new assistant coaches Joi Williams and Latricia Trammell, Plum helps kickstart a new era of Stars basketball.
“It’s an honor to be a member of the Stars,” Plum said. “I’m a big fan of both Moriah and Kayla’s 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.”
The Stars added some instant Coffey, a 6-1 forward from Northwestern, was the first four-time All-Big Ten First Team selection in school history and averaged 20 points and 10.4 rebounds as a senior.
“Just seeing the people on the Stars roster they are elite athletes,” Coffey said. “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.”
There wasn’t much suspense in the Stars’ draft “war room,” at the AT&T Center, as Riley and Johnson had decided together on No. 1 well before the draft.
Spurs general manager R.C. Buford joined in and sat next to Riley, calming some nerves with stories about his first NBA draft.
The Stars finished their night by drafting Schaquilla Nunn, a 6-3 forward from Tennessee at No. 25 overall.
“Kelsey Plum is WNBA-ready,” Johnson said. “Our system is a lot of pick-and-rolls and she’ll fit well with her energy and leadership. Stars fans need to be ready for a new, exciting team.”
View Gallery: Stars Select Kelsey Plum & Nia Coffey in 1st Round of WNBA Draft