UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) It took three picks for Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck to make WNBA history.
The UConn trio, who led the Huskies to four consecutive national championships, went 1-2-3 in the draft Thursday night. It’s the first time that three players from the same school were the top three.
“It shows how special of a group we are. When we do something with the three of us, we do it together,” Stewart said. “We went in as freshmen together. We won four national championships together. Now, we all were drafted together.”
Stewart – the three-time AP Player of the Year – went first to Seattle, Jefferson second to San Antonio and Tuck third to Connecticut. Stewart was talking to the media when she heard that Tuck was drafted third by the Sun.
“I’m so happy,” she said. “That might have me more happy than being No. 1 overall. To see her go through all that she’s been through, to leave with us and then for us to go 1-2-3, that’s picture perfect.”
No draft in any major sport has ever had the top three picks come from the same school, according to information provided to the WNBA by the Elias Sports Bureau.
“We’re sisters for sure,” Jefferson said. “I heard her name and I stopped, started clapping. I got so emotional. To go through the journey the way we have and make history on the college level and history here, it’s unbelievable. I can’t think of anything being any better.”
The WNBA has had two of the first three players come from the same school on three separate occasions. The closest to the top three being from the same team was in 2002 when UConn had players taken first, second, fourth and sixth.
The 6-foot-4 Stewart averaged 19.4 points and 8.7 rebounds to lead the Huskies to a fourth consecutive national championship earlier this month. She became the first player in NCAA history to earn most outstanding player of the Final Four all four years.
When her name was called by new WNBA President Lisa Borders, Stewart hugged UConn coach Geno Auriemma, who was sitting at her table. She then gave a hug to Jefferson and Tuck with her other former UConn teammates applauding from the crowd at Mohegan Sun. It was the third straight season that the draft was held at the home of the Connecticut Sun. There was a loud crowd on hand to cheer on the former Huskies and draft picks.
The league’s 20th anniversary season will tip off May 14. Training camps open April 24.
Rachel Banham went fourth to Connecticut. The Minnesota guard tied the NCAA record this season with 60 points in a game.
Here are some other tidbits from the draft:
MOTHER/DAUGHTER: Texas center Imani Boyette went 10th to Chicago and could be the first daughter of a WNBA player to make a roster. Her mom, Pamela McGee, was the No. 2 pick in the 1997 draft and played for Sacramento and the Los Angeles Sparks. Yolanda Griffith’s daughter, Alicia DeVaughn, attended training camps in 2014 and 2015 but didn’t make the regular-season roster.
“It’s a lot to know that I can do the same thing my mom did,” Boyette said. “Hopefully, in a better way. I’m blessed to be here. I watched a lot of WNBA growing up. … I’m excited that it’s my turn to be the one getting watched.”
CONNECTICUT MAMBA: Banham had a chance earlier this month to meet her idol Kobe Bryant when she was out in Los Angeles. Banham was known as the Maroon Mamba when she played for the Gophers. She joked that she’d be happy with whatever nickname she’s given in Connecticut.
QUICK CHANGE: A few minutes after getting drafted by Los Angeles, Jonquel Jones was traded to Connecticut. She kidded when she got back in the press conference room that she had no memories of Los Angeles.
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