UNCASVILLE, Conn. (April 13, 2017) – With the eighth overall pick in the first round of the 2017 WNBA Draft on Thursday night, the Connecticut Sun added a sharp-shooting post player, choosing Brionna Jones from the University of Maryland.
“It was an exciting night for Connecticut,” Connecticut Sun head coach and general manager Curt Miller said. “There were lots and lots of mock drafts. Not one time in our war room did we think Brionna Jones would drop to eight, so really, really excited to be able to pick her.”
A 6-foot-3 center who led the nation in field goal shooting percentage as a junior (.665) and senior (.690), Jones finished her collegiate career with 1,928 points and 1,209 rebounds. She led Maryland to three Big Ten titles and a pair of Final Fours, closing out her career by averaging 19.9 points and 10.9 rebounds as a senior.
“Obviously, it fills some need with the loss of Chiney,” said Miller, referring to Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike, who had offseason surgery on her Achilles tendon. “We needed some more post depth. A tremendous low-post finisher, tremendous IQ. I can honestly say I talked to a ton of these draftees on the phone. Not one person had a better conversation with me than Brionna Jones.”
“I am happy to be a part of the Connecticut Sun team,” Jones said. “It is going to be cool to be playing with Alyssa (Thomas) again. Having that person I played with and having her on the team if I need to ask questions, it is going to be a great help.”
The Sun returned to the Big Ten to select 6-foot-2 forward Shayla Cooper from Ohio State with the first pick of the second round, 13th overall. Cooper, who competed against Jones, finished her career with 1,070 points and 690 rebounds. During her senior season, she averaged 10.5 points and 6.7 rebounds in 33 starts. Cooper had 26 career double-doubles as a Buckeye.
“I think it will be great,” Cooper said of being on the same team with Jones. “Brionna Jones is a great player. I’ve played against her. I’ve guarded her. She’s a tough player.”
With the 16th overall pick, the Sun selected Leticia Romero from Florida State University. A silver medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio as a member of the Spanish National Team, the 5-foot-8 guard wrapped up her collegiate career as the ACC’s all-time leader in 3-point field goal percentage at 47.7 percent (112-235). She was the first three-time All-American in FSU history and finished her career with 1,026 points.
Connecticut wrapped up the draft by selecting Jessica January from DePaul with the 28th overall pick. The guard wrapped up her career with the Blue Demons with the fourth-highest total in career assists with 554 while also scoring 1,530 points. A CoSIDA Academic All-American, January averaged 15 points, 6.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds as a senior.
The Sun open the 2017 season on Saturday, May 13th, hosting the Atlanta Dream at Mohegan Sun Arena at 7 pm. Tickets start at $14 per game and can be purchased HERE or calling 877-SUN-TIXX.