June 27, 2016
There was much anticipation leading up to the 2016 WNBA draft. With UCONN’s very own Breanna Stewart, a player who has a laundry list of collegiate accolades, finally becoming available it was certain that she would be the #1 pick in the draft to the Seattle Storm. The fifth Connecticut player to be taken No. 1 overall in the WNBA Draft, Stewart has a lot to live up to and the expectations for her to lead Seattle back to the days where they were championship contenders are high. University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma should have just stayed on stage for the start of the WNBA draft because the #2 and #3 picks were players from his team. At #2, point guard Moriah Jefferson headed to a team in San Antonio who were only able to string together 8 wins during their 2015 season. At #3 Morgan Tuck was selected by the Connecticut Sun, who missed the playoffs last season but were able to win a respectable 15 games with a team full of youth and coaching issues. To round out the top five, the Dallas wings took Aeriel Powers from Michigan State. But what has been the steal of the draft is Tiffany Mitchell who was taken 9th by the Indiana Fever. Here’s a brief summary of how the top five rookies are doing so far this season. We’ve also ranked the top five rookies, let us know if you agree with us.
Breanna Stewart PPG 17.6 RPG 9.6 APG 3.1 BPG 2.0 MPG 34.8 SPG 1.2 ROOKIE RANK #1
In her first year in the WNBA Stewart has already proven herself to be not only the best rookie in the league but one of the best players in the league in general. With averages of 17.6 points per game, 9.6 rebounds per game, 3.1 assists per game and 2.0 blocks per game, she ranks in the top 10 in scoring at number 8, and top five in rebounding at number 2, only behind Tina Charles who averages 9.9 rebounds per game. On several occasions Stewart has flirted with a triple double and has a career high of 29 points in which she’s scored on two occasions. For the month of May Stewart was named the Rookie of the Month presented by Samsung. During that month Stewart led all rookies in points (17.4 ppg), rebounds (8.8 rpg) and blocks (2.0 bpg) and was second in assists (2.4 apg) in five games. Stewart has also been selected to represent the United States at the Olympic games this summer in Rio. The Seattle Storm are currently 5-9 and sit in 5th place in the Western Conference and rank 10th overall. The top 8 teams in the league regardless of conference qualify for the playoffs, so the Storm aren’t too far out of the race. If they can be more consistent during the second half of the season they can definitely find their way into the playoffs.
Moriah Jefferson PPG 9.9 RPG 1.8 APG 4.6 MPG 28.5 SPG 1.5 ROOKIE RANK #2
With the #2 pick in the WNBA draft the San Antonio Stars selected 4 time NCAA champion Moriah Jefferson. Jefferson was headed to a team that is in transition from its players all the way to its head coach Dan Hughes who announced his retirement before the beginning of the season. Jefferson was thrown right into the fire with the Stars usual point guard Danielle Robinson rehabbing a ruptured achilles. Although Jefferson comes from a storied program, starting at the point in the WNBA is no easy task. However, she has slid into that role smoothly and seems to be improving as the season goes on. She is currently in the top five in the league in assists at 4.6 per game. She’s shooting over 40% from both the 2 and the 3 and is second on the Stars in points per game. The future is bright for Jefferson. Although the Stars have won just three games this season, she has a lot to look forward to as she becomes the leader of this team and develops alongside all-star guard Kayla McBride. [Read more…]