April 30, 2016
In the first preseason game of the 2017 WNBA season the San Antonio Stars hosted the Dallas Wings Saturday afternoon. On display were five top ten draft picks, including the #1 pick Kelsey Plum who many were anxious to see in her WNBA debut. Plum did not disappoint as she scored her first basket less than a minute into the game. Plum went on to score 19 points and dished out 5 assists. She was able to score in many different ways; getting to the basket, coming off screens and knocking down three point shots. She even got to the free throw line more times than anyone on the Stars where she went seven for seven from the stripe. If there were any doubts as to whether Plum would shine in this league that was certainly put to rest yesterday. Plum wasn’t the only rookie to impress on the Stars. No. 5 pick Nia Coffee was very efficient in almost 20 minutes of play. Coffee was relentless on the boards where she pulled down five rebounds and went 6-10 from the floor to finish second in scoring with 17 points. Rookie Briana Day out of Syracuse scored 10 points on 4-7 shooting.
Dallas Wings rookies were also very impressive in their debuts. Allisha Gray led the way for the Wings scoring a team high 15 points. Gray was aggressive with the ball as she attacked the basket and got to the line eight times. Although Gray was not as efficient from the floor, her tenacity fits right in with Dallas style of play. South Carolina teammate Kaela Davis held her own in Saturday’s contest as well. Davis finished with 13 points 6 rebounds and 3 assists her her WNBA debut. She was able to get to the basket and use her size and strength to finish shots. No. 3 pick Evelyn Akhator was a little more quiet in her debut as she finished with four points and four rebounds in 15 minutes of play. In the end the San Antonio Stars hung on the win 87-81 to give Vicki Johnson her first win as a WNBA head coach.
All in all these rookies had a fine showing in Saturday’s game. For it to be their first time in a WNBA uniform, they showed poise and skill that will definitely be beneficial to both teams who were at the bottom on the league standings for the 2016 season. The Stars and the Wings will rely heavily on their young talent to lead the way this season. As they continue to adjust to the size and speed of the WNBA, these young players will continue to develop and be huge contributors to the success of their respective clubs.