Two Cal women’s basketball players have moved on to the WNBA. They just didn’t do in the spectacular fashion that everyone had thought they would.
On Thursday night, Cal seniors Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray were drafted — Boyd was drafted to the New York Liberty with the ninth overall pick, and Gray was drafted 16th overall to the Minnesota Lynx.
The first big shock came when Gray wasn’t drafted in the top five. The second big shock arrived when Boyd’s name came out before Gray’s. All predictions had identified Gray has a top pick, surely above Boyd.
But perhaps the biggest shock of all?
Reshanda Gray was not even drafted in the first round — she fell outside the top-12 picks.
The draft had already been predicted to have shifted because of two players who declared early, which is unheard of in women’s basketball. The two players were predicted to go first and second, and they did. The first pick of the WNBA draft was Notre Dame guard Jewell Loyd, who went to the Seattle Storm. Minnesota’s Amanda Zahui B. was picked second by the Tulsa Shock.
Joining Loyd in Seattle will be the third overall pick, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, from the current national champions, the University of Connecticut. The list of drafted players remained along the lines of what was predicted when Duke’s Elizabeth Williams went fourth to the Connecticut Sun.
But then it was supposed to be Gray’s turn, and her name just did not get called. Players who weren’t invited to attend the draft were called, while both Gray and Boyd looked on from their tables in Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Boyd was predicted to fall within the second half of the first round of the draft, which she did. The few surprises before Boyd included Middle Tennessee State’s Cheyenne Parker going fifth to the Chicago Sky, the Los Angeles Sparks picking Central Michigan’s Crystal Bradford seventh and the Washington Mystics using the eighth overall pick to select the University of Dayton’s Ally Mallot.
But when Boyd was selected, the reaction on her face was easily the best one of the night. For a player who has battled through injuries this year and continued to play her hardest every minute she was on the court, the ninth overall pick is well justified.
“It was a dream come true,” Boyd said. “I’m just lucky to be in the position that I am — I finally got here. I get to play for this group and for the New York Liberty. The organization, the city, New York, it’s the Big Apple! I’ve been there before, and I know it gets cold there, but I’m just excited and ready to come and learn.”
The Berkeley native will leave the Pac-12 conference ranked second and third overall in assists and steals per game, respectively. She is also Cal’s career and single-game record holder for both steals and assists.
“Everybody’s good in the WNBA,” Boyd said. “These are the world’s best players. Every game is going to be competitive and a hassle. I’m just excited for the opportunity.”
Gray was picked as the fourth selection in the second round of the draft. She will not have to head as far east as Boyd and will join a team that had a lot of success last year, winning 25 games. The anticipation, though, was not easy.
“I was nervous. They had projected me to go in the first round, but I have a philosophy that everything happens for a reason,” Gray said. “I’m excited for the opportunity.”
The Pac-12 Player of the Year is leaving the Bears as the team’s all-time field goal percentage leader at 55.7 percent and the Bears’ 2014-15 season leader in scoring and blocks. The Los Angeles native also averaged 13.2 points per game . Her size and her ability to jump to reach high passes have made her an integral part of the Bears’ offense this season — without her, they would not have made it close to as far as they did. Minnesota will make good use of her skills to add to its talented team.
“I’ve never been to Minnesota before, but I’m looking forward to training camp and being there with veteran players,” Gray said. “I’ll have to bring my A-game.”
Gray’s drop does not quite add up. She will likely be a steal for the Lynx, and her WNBA career should be much better than this pick number portrays. She simply should have gone sooner.
This is still a big event for Cal women’s basketball. These two women will be missed at Cal, but they’re about to make a huge impression on the WNBA.
Alaina Getzenberg covers women’s basketball. Contact her at [email protected]