NEW YORK — The Seattle Storm selected UCLA point guard Jordin Canada with the fifth overall pick in the WNBA draft on Thursday.
An excellent distributor, the 5 foot, 6 inch Canada is the Pac-12 Conference’s and UCLA’s all-time assists leader, dishing out 831 dimes in her career. She set the program’s single-season record for assists with 248 in her senior season, and averaged 7.1 assists per game, seventh-best in the NCAA.
“Jordin is a dynamic playmaker that will fit well in coach Dan Hughes’ system,” said Storm president and general manager Alisha Valavanis in a press release. “In addition to her offensive skill-set, her defensive tenacity is invaluable. This is an incredible opportunity for a rookie point guard to learn from Sue Bird. We are excited to welcome Jordin to Seattle.”
Canada was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year following her senior season, the only Bruin to win the award since its inception in 2007-08. She was also named to the All-Pac-12 team, leading the conference in steals (114) for the third-straight season, and finished her career with 347 steals, good for fourth all-time in Pac-12 history.
“I love Sue Bird, she’s one of my role models,” Canada said of the chance to learn from the WNBA legend.
The Storm tips off the 2018 season against the Phoenix Mercury on May 20.
A’ja Wilson was the top pick in the draft by the Las Vegas Aces.
The South Carolina star post will bolster the relocated franchise’s frontcourt. The Aces, who moved to Las Vegas from San Antonio this past winter, had the first pick for the second straight season after selecting Washington’s Kelsey Plum first overall last year.
“It’s such a great feeling, just an amazing way to cap off my collegiate career,” Wilson said. “My heart was pounding before she announced the pick.”
Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell went second to the Indiana Fever.
The Chicago Sky took Diamond DeShields, who spent the season playing professionally in Turkey, and Gabby Williams of Connecticut with the next two picks.
Azura Stevens, who decided to forego her final year of eligibility at UConn, was taken sixth by Dallas. Washington drafted Ariel Atkins of Texas seventh. Victoria Vivians went eighth to Indiana.
New York took Kia Nurse ninth and Los Angeles drafted 19-year-old Russian star Maria Vadeeva with the 11th pick. She’s the first foreign player who didn’t play at an American college to be taken in the first round since 2012.
Marie Gulich of Oregon State was drafted by Phoenix to close out the first round.
Gonzaga’s Jill Barta was selected by Las Vegas with the 32nd pick and then traded to Minnesota after the draft.
Training camps open up on April 29 and the 22nd season of the WNBA begins play on May 18.
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