BY TYLER BYRUM (@theTylerByrum)
For the sixth straight year, a Maryland Terrapin has been taken in the WNBA Draft. This draft though marks the third time ever that two Terps, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones, were selected in the First Round.
With the sixth overall pick (traded from the Seattle Storm), the Washington Mystics decided to select a local talent, Walker-Kimbrough. The three time All-Big Ten First Team selection will go down as one of the best guards to ever dawn a Maryland jersey even with the team's illustrious history. At 5'11", she holds the Terps all-time three point shooting percentage mark and is the program's second all-time leading scorer. This past season, which ended in a Sweet 16 run for the team, the AP Third Team All-American was named one of the 15 finalists for the Wooden Award as the national player of the year.
To get the Maryland standout, the Mystics acquired Seattle’s first round pick back in January that was part of a three-team trade. By Washington sending Bria Hartley and Kia Vaughn to the Liberty, the Storm acquired Carolyn Swords and thus sending their pick to the Mystics.
Walker-Kimbrough is just another weapon added to the Mystics roster this off-season. Alongside the versatile Elena Delle-Donne, the Maryland grad will be yet another player opponents will have to matchup against, especially when second units are put on the court. Her offense will be huge for a team that had the third worst offensive numbers in the league, but her defense will add to the physicality the Mystics display on the court.
Another former Terp (who guided Maryland to an NCAA title) and WNBA champion, Kristi Toliver also was picked up this past off-season by the Mystics after she won a title with the Sparks in 2016. Tianna Hawkins, a 2013 Maryland grad, is also listed on the team's roster.
Other selections for the Mystics in the 2017 draft include Jennie Simms from Old Dominion (18th overall) and Mehryn Kraker from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (27th overall).
Not too long after Walker-Kimbrough was taken, Jones was selected by the Connecticut Sun as the eighth overall pick of the draft. As a 6'3" center she lead the NCAA in field goal percentage the past two seasons. In the Big Ten, she currently holds the conference best career field goal percentage. She was also a finalist for the Wooden Award this past year, while being named an AP First Team All-American.
For the Sun, Jones will be a huge addition to their interior defense who allowed opponents to score 84.3 ppg, the third highest in the WNBA. She will also look to boost their offensive rebounding numbers as it is anticipated she will have to come off the bench.
This draft is the first since 2009 that Maryland had two First Round picks, the team also saw two first rounders the year prior in 2008.
The overall number one pick of the draft was Washington's Kelsey Plum, who set the NCAA scoring record for points all-time and in a single season. She is heading to the worst offense in the WNBA, the San Antonio Stars.