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
2019 Champion Washington Mystics Mystify The WNBA
Masks off! That’s a wrap!
The NBA may be back…even if it is only preseason (yeah tell that to everyone in Tokyo, Japan last night), but don’t call it a comeback like the BIG3’s LL. Because like being here for years it never left. Yet the real dear departure we’re about to mourn is the curtain call on the great expectations of one of the best WNBA seasons tonight. One that’s been a Spark and a Storm, despite either of those legendary Los Angeles and Seattle franchises making the finals cut.
But instead it was the MVP with the face-mask, inspiring every Bradley Beal and John Wall Wizard in attendance to follow plastic facial suit, Elena Delle Donne who lead her Washington Mystics to their first WNBA championship crown setting the Sun on Connecticut. Mystifying like INXS for the leagues new sensation that’s about to live baby live.
And you thought the biggest thing in D.C. right now was top ten Japanese draft pick Rui Hachimura? A year before his nation hosts the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for what we’re sure will be a legendary rookie campaign for the ages.
Washington basketball looks as beautiful as the magnificent Mall right now.
Just days after Bradley Beal penned a poignant piece for The Players Tribune sports personality journal entries in support of all of Washington and worldwide basketball, man and women, the Mystics showed it was all about them with an 89-78 win over the Suns. Rising like the trophy they lifted to follow their first banner and the epic emotion you see in the photo above.
Caption contest, greatness, legendary, amazing, everything.
So much more.
So, so much more.
“It feels phenomenal, my goodness, feels so good. Hard to put it into words,” the epic leader Elena told press postgame. It really is indescribable, but we have a few more to give it a go.
Even with Delle Donne almost done with more herniated discs than you used to have albums in your cars CD changer (get well soon champ), she still hit 21 (all in that LeBron and Kobe face mask), to go along with the Finals MVP (to go along with her regular season one), Emma Meesseman’s team high 22.
Holding the leagues best record and now the trophy itself this was sweet redemption of emotion for the Mystics in this Game 5 after losing to the Storm’s front in last years Finals. When they were without their Belgium superstar Meesseman in the mess. But this year with everything up their sleeve, holding all the cards, the Mystics magic wasn’t going to be affected by any weather. Come Storm or Sun.
Sure when it comes to these Harry Potter themed teams in the United States capital city the Wizards may be pulling something big out their hat this year. But nothing spells the Mystics quite like M-V-P.
Elena Delle Donne With The Most Valuable Face Mask
Vegas may have all the chips with the Sin City Aces and Hollywood the L.A. big-three with Candace Parker and the Ogwumike sister, sisters. Whilst the team they just beat Seattle, a storm of legacy making to legendary players, from Breanna Stewart to Sue Bird. Herself making sport, entertainment and all inclusive headlines for her off-court partnership with US soccer star and World Cup MVP winner, Megan Rapinoe.
But it’s D.C. that have the capital star as Washington’s mystifying Mystics star Elena Delle Donne is the Most Valuable Player for the second time.
EDD MVP of the WNBA.
And she did it all nose to knee injury.
Detroit Piston Rip Hamilton made the face-mask famous. And then ‘Star Wars’ super-fan Kobe Bryant became the Phantom Menace when he wore one for a bit, mauling his man like a Darth Sith lord. LeBron also had his own black, Bat Bron (Happy Batman Day caped crusaders), phantom opera during his time behind plastic like a Hollywood star for the theater. Even the dunking muscle of Russell Westbrook brought some Bane brutality to his. This trademark trend just seems to bring the beast out of the best. You remember how Bird flew through the black eye of the Storm last year with one? And now you can add MVP Elena Delle Donne to the face mask Hall of Fame.
And famous fans were even wearing matching masks in support solidarity as the back-court brotherhood of the NBA’s Washington Wizards John Wall and Bradley Beal sat court-side, faces sweating.
“Thank you to the people who made my mask and my knee brace. There should seriously be MVP awards for them”, Delle Donne told Twitter later in an acceptance speech thread of humble thanks.
Elena kept the face mask on after her nose healed because…well you know it’s inspiring and intimidating and cool as hell. But the knee brace has been a God send Most Underrated Player Of The Season. After her nightmare playoff injury against the Atlanta Dream last year, this sleeve holding her leg together cap to joint has helped the reawakening of a legends career.
Even without the MVP or LL Cool J knockout, bell rocking comeback, Delle Donne was already one of the greatest WNBA players of all-time…let alone the right now G.O.A.T.’s. But take a look at her now.
She just may be one of the games greatest. Counting either gender.
Ignorantly don’t believe us? Well remember Carter, men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t.
How’s the first player in the women’s game to record 50/40/90 splits in a season suit you?
If you’re not impressed, suit yourself. Because Delle Donne don’t care. Right now she’s focusing on bigger things. Like beating the house in Las Vegas following her Game 2 win against the Aces. And after Hamby’s miracle roll from half-court against Elena’s former team the Chicago Sky, it’s time for the MVP to run it back in revenge.
Now that would really be an ace in the hole.
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