The Cal women’s basketball team had a disappointing end to the season. They fizzled out before even leaving home.
But things are about to change. The two star seniors on the team, senior guard Brittany Boyd and senior forward Reshanda Gray, will receive the recognition they deserve. It is finally their time to shine.
And boy, are they about to sparkle.
For only the second time in team history, the Bears will have a player invited to and going to the WNBA draft. For the first time in its history, they will have two players in attendance. In 2013, just two years ago, Layshia Clarendon was the first Bear invited to be at the draft and the highest ever draft pick for Cal, picked ninth in the first round by the Indiana Fever.
That was a big moment for this program. But Thursday is going to be the biggest thing to happen to the Cal women’s basketball team program on a professional level. Ever.
On Thursday, the WNBA Draft 2015 presented by State Farm will take place in Uncasville, Connecticut, at Mohegan Sun Arena, beginning with the first round at 4 p.m. PT on ESPN 2. This will be followed by the second and third rounds at 5 p.m. PT on ESPN 3.
Boyd and Gray are two of the 12 players who have been asked to come to Connecticut. The Bears are the only team with more than one player asked to be there in person.
So, where will they fall?
Both players should break Cal’s record and are projected to be picked in the top eight spots. They had both been projected to be going in the top five at the end of the season, however the rankings have gone askew. Two younger players declared for the draft early just last week after only completing three years of college, Minnesota redshirt sophomore Amanda Zahui B. and Notre Dame junior guard Jewell Loyd, espnW’s National Player of the Year. Both will turn 22 this year, fulfilling the age requirement.
While declaring early has become very popular for the NBA draft, this move is unprecedented for the WNBA. Women’s basketball players typically do not declare early, and the only case of this happening before has been with redshirt juniors who completed all four years, such as Kelsey Bone in 2013. These decisions launched Zahui B. and Loyd to the top five of the draft boards, pushing Boyd and Gray even further back.
The predictions are endless, and the confusion added by two top players being added to the draft does not clear up who exactly should or will be picked at what point. The Seattle Storm has two picks in the top five, first and third, so it will be interesting to see what they do with these.
Both Zahui B. and Loyd will be picked in the top five, most likely the top three. UConn national champion Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis will also likely go in the top three or four after scoring 48.8 percent of her three-pointers.
But back to those two Bears. Some reports still discuss Gray as being the first pick. Some say second and so forth. It is hard to tell. The Pac-12 Player of the Year should go in the top five because of her size and presence on the court, in addition to her 2-point scoring percentage of 56.8 percent. Boyd will likely fall out of the top five because of these new additions to the draft board, but she should still land around the sixth or seventh pick.
This will be a grand moment for Cal Athletics. Two women likely picked in the top-10. Two women who deserve to land in amazing places and show the world their talent.
Stay glued to your TVs, Bears fans. This is just the beginning.
Alaina Getzenberg covers women’s basketball. Contact her at [email protected]