This evening, the Women’s Basketball Association opens its 20th season of operation. In that time, Rutgers has had a profound impact upon the league through its history, and currently has nine former Scarlet Knights in the league, on half of the team’s rosters in the 12-team conference. They include:
Cappie Pointdexter- No listing of top players in the league is complete without her name. Now entering her 11th season, she has been in the league for more than half of its existence. Her name is listed with the all-time greats in the league, and with good reason. She has won two WNBA titles when with the Phoenix Mercury, and chosen seven times to the All-Star Team as well as three times named WNBA First Team. She is currently entering her second season with the Chicago Sky.
Essence Carson- Carson is joining the Los Angeles Sparks this year, after eight seasons with the New York Liberty. The Eastside High grad from Patterson was a first-round pick and has also been an All-Star pick. She is still working her way back from an ACL injury three years ago that has had an impact upon her production.
Kia Vaughn- Also a first round pick, Kia has now split her career between the NY Liberty and her current team, the Washington Mystics. Just last year, she helped lead the Mystics to the Eastern Conference semi-finals. In 2011 she was named the league’s Most Improved Player when thrust into the starting lineup with the suspension of Janel McCarville.
Epiphanny Prince- Prince is yet another first-round pick who spent her first five seasons with the Chicago Sky before moving to her current home, the NY Liberty. A two-time WNBA All-Star (2011-2013), she led the Liberty to the Eastern Conference finals last season. She will be returning following an ACL injury suffered while playing in Russia during the off-season.
Betnijah Laney- Laney is a second year, second-round pick by the Chicago Sky, teaming up with Cappie Pointdexter. After a quiet rookie year in the league, Betnijah seems to have found her footing in the offseason, starring on the Perth Lynx of the Australian WNBL, leading them to the team’s first WNBL final since 1999.
Erica Wheeler- Wheeler joined Epiphanny Prince on the NY Liberty as a late addition last season, after starting her rookie year as a non-drafted player for the Atlanta Dream. She was a 1000+ point player at Rutgers, and played internationally prior to signing with the Dream in 2015.
Kahleah Copper- Entering her rookie season in the WNBA as a first-round draft pick, joining Kia Vaughn on the Washington Mystics. The seventh overall pick enters the league after a senior season “On the Banks” with multiple watch lists to her credit. Copper ended her Rutgers career as third all-time Rutgers point leader, behind former Rutgers standouts Cappie Pointdexter and Sue Wicks.
Rachel Hollivay- Hollivay also enters her rookie year as a second-round pick by the Atlanta Dream. A defensive specialist, Rachel’s Rutgers record in career blocked shots as well single-season blocks is second in both areas only to all-time great Sue Wicks.
This will be an interesting season for the WNBA, as it prepares to enter its third decade of existence as the premier women’s basketball league in the world. The players listed above all completed their college careers under the tutelage of Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer. This week AD Pat Hobbs announced his intention to sign Stringer to a new four-year deal, which will probably mean she will complete her career as the record holder for all-time B1G career wins as the Rutgers women’s coach. Let’s cheer on our Scarlet Knights in the WNBA!