It was a historic and record breaking night for Canadian women’s basketball at the 2016 WNBA Draft inside the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, New Jersey.
For the first time ever, a record four Canadians were selected – Florida State Center Adut Bulgak (Edmonton, Alberta) was taken 12th overall by the New York Liberty and Oregon State teammates Jamie Weisner and Ruth Hamblin became the first Canadian duo to be drafted back-to-back with the Connecticut Sun scooping up Weisner with the fifth pick in the second-round (17th overall) and the Dallas Wings taking Hamblin with the very next pick, 18th overall.
Bulgak a 6’4 center by way of Sudan via Kenya averaged 12.5 points per game, 8.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks earning second-team All-ACC honors and was ecstatic to be heading to the “Big Apple.”
Weisner the 2015-16 PAC-12 Player of the year was a force to be reckoned with during her four year tenure at Oregon State capping off her career by leading the Beavers to their first Final Four in school history while averaging 14.2 points per game and 5.8 rebounds. Teammate Ruth Hamblin (Smithers, British Columbia) aka “The Canadian Hammer” the 2016 PAC-12 Defensive player of the year nearly averaged a double-double with 9.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per contest and couldn’t hold back her emotions as her name was called.
Putting a Canadian WNBA stamp of arrival and approval and capping off an incredible 2016 Draft night was the selection of Lachine, Quebec Nirra Fields (UCLA Bruins) with 32nd and last pick of the draft by the Phoenix Sun. Fields and outstanding guard averaged 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game.
Stacey Dales-Schuman (Brockville, ON) holds the distinguished title of being Canada’s highest draft pick – third overall by the Washington Mystics in 2002, followed by Hamilton, Ontario’s Shona Thorburn – 7th overall in 2006 by the Minnesota Lynx. Markham, Ontario’s own Tammy Sutton-Brown, Canada’s WNBA Queen is the longest tenured player, logging eleven seasons, between 2001-2012 and earning a Championship and two all-star appearances.
A total of seven Canadians have now been drafted since 2013, bringing the total to six active Canadians as the WNBA gets set to kick-off it’s 20th season.
With the rise of Canadian National Women’s program and over 70-plus Canadian ladies on NCAA rosters including potential top overall pick and two NCAA champion Kia Nurse next in line it’s fair to say that Canada’s WNBA invasion is just around the corner.
Complete History of Canadians Drafted in WNBA
2016 – First Round – 12th – Adut Bulgak – New York Liberty
2016 – First Round – 17th – Jamie Weisner – Connecticut Sun
2016 – First Round – 17th – Ruth Hamlin – Dallas Wings
2016 – Third Round – 32nd – Nirra Fields – Phoenix Mercury
2014 – First Round – 9th Pick – Natalie Achonwa – Indiana Fever
2014 – Second Round – 7th Pick – Michelle Plouffe – Seattle Dream
2013 – First Round – 8th Pick – Kayla Alexander – San Antonio Stars
2006 – First Round – 7th Pick – Shona Thorbun – Minnesota Lynx
2006 – First Round – 13th Pick – Kim Smith – Sacramento Monarchs
2003 – Second-Round – 18th Pick – Jordan Adams – Minnesota Lynx
2002 – First Round – 3rd Pick – Stacey Dales-Schuman – Washington Mystics
2001 – Second Round – 18th Pick Tammy Sutton-Brown – Indiana Fever
2000 – Fourth Round – 60th Pick Cal Bouchard – Detroit Shock