Chosen by the San Antonio Stars, Kelsey Plum went first in the WNBA draft Thursday, and the Sparks selected three-point specialist Sydney Wiese with the 11th pick.
Plum, a Washington Huskies guard, finished her college career with an NCAA-record 3,527 points. The Stars had the worst record last season and held the top pick for the first time in franchise history.
“I’ve been dreaming about it for so long,” Plum said. “I’m really excited and grateful for the opportunity and will make the most of it.”
The 6-0 Wiese, the Pac-12 Conference career record holder with 373 three-point baskets, averaged 15.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists as a senior.
The Sparks used their other pick — the 11th selection in the third round — to take 6-5 Saicha Grant-Allen, who averaged 9.9 points and 8.6 rebounds last season for Dayton.
Los Angeles had the rights to Connecticut’s No. 4 pick in the first round, but used them to acquire Odyssey Sims, a 5-8 fourth-year guard from Dallas, in February. That move was necessitated by the loss of Kristi Toliver, the top outside shooting threat on last year’s league championship team, who signed with Washington.
The Sparks also gave up their second-round pick in the trade, but reacquired their No. 11 pick, which they used to select Wiese.
Sims, who averaged 14.0 points last season, has career averages of 15.5 points and 4.0 assists and was the No. 2 pick of the 2014 draft.
Meanwhile, Chicago drafted Alaina Coates with the second pick. The South Carolina star, the first of three Gamecocks selected in the first round, injured an ankle in the Southeastern Conference tournament and didn’t play in the team’s run to the national title.
Dallas took Kentucky forward Evelyn Akhator with the third pick, and the Wings came back with South Carolina’s Allisha Gray with the fourth choice.
Gray decided to forgo her senior year of eligibility and enter the draft a day after the Gamecocks won the title. Kaela Davis was taken by the Wings at No. 10, meaning the two Gamecocks will be together in Dallas.
“It’s great to have the connection and familiarity in an unknown situation,” Davis said of playing with Gray.
Northwestern’s Nia Coffey went fifth to San Antonio, with Maryland’s Shatori Walker-Kimbrough picked sixth by the Washington Mystics.
Atlanta took Brittney Sykes of Syracuse seventh. Brionna Jones of Maryland went to Connecticut with the eighth pick. Chicago used its second pick in the first round to select Michigan State’s Tori Jankoska at No. 9. That made for four Big Ten Conference players drafted in the first nine picks.
Alexis Jones of Baylor closed out the first round, heading to Minnesota.
The draft was held in an event space in New York with WNBA President Lisa Borders announcing the picks from a DJ booth, creating a party atmosphere.
The league will start its 21st season May 13, with training camps opening April 23.