Stanford’s first international women’s basketball recruit, Alanna Smith has enjoyed the successes of a standout senior season for which she was named an All-American. Smith was also the 12th Cardinal to be named All-American and to be drafted in the first round of the WBNA draft.
After four years on the Farm, Stanford forward Alanna Smith is headed to the Phoenix Mercury as the eighth overall selection in the WNBA draft. Smith, who was born in Hobart and grew up in Melbourne, Australia, was the first international recruit of Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer. Now, as the highest-drafted Australian out of college, she will be playing for a fellow Australian, Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello.
“You must really like the Suns,” my friend suggested, pointing to my purple T-shirt emblazoned with “PHOENIX BASKETBALL” across the chest. It was an innocent mistake; one people make all the time when I wear my Diana Taurasi Phoenix Mercury shirt. The orange spherical logo is placed aside, so that the big letters are all you see unless you look closely. I cherish that shirt. Later in the day I hooped on the Wilbur courts, doing my best to warmly welcome frosh with an L. The shirt feels like it belongs in a pickup game.
Renewing with Final Four play for the first time since 2014, Stanford women’s basketball brought the school chills during their playoff run, climaxing with McCall’s game saving block with less than two seconds left on the clock against Notre-Dame during the team’s final win of the season in the Elite 8.
On Oct. 4, I watched a former number one overall draft pick and an all-star guard hit a winning shot in the last minute of the deciding game of the finals to give their team a championship. It was a thrilling series that captivated my attention, and a rematch of the previous year’s finals, in which the other team won. Although with this description I could have been talking about viewing a rerun of the 2016 NBA Finals, I was in fact watching the 2017 WNBA Finals, where Maya Moore hit the shot to propel the Minnesota Lynx over the Los Angeles Sparks.
Former Stanford standout and current Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike was named the 2016 WNBA Most Valuable Player, the league announced Tuesday.
To be able to say that I know three people in the WNBA next season (including Chiney’s older sister Nneka, who was picked first overall two seasons ago by the LA Sparks) is just so cool, for lack of a better word. But what is also cool is the coverage that the WNBA Draft now receives and the advancement of professional women’s sports over the past few years.
On Monday afternoon, senior forward Chiney Ogwumike was selected by the Connecticut Sun with the first overall pick of the 2014 WNBA Draft, becoming the second Stanford player in the last three years after older sister Nneka Ogwumike to be taken as the top pick in the annual professional draft.