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Knights in the pros: WNBA and Europe update

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Scaife leads women’s hoops to opening win at JMU.

2014 WNBA Finals - Game Three
Prince and Taurasi took it from the Big East to WNBA.

Tyler Scaife returned to action after a redshirt season in ‘16-’17 and led The Scarlet Knights women’s hoops team to a season opening win at James Madison. The Dukes (who I expected to be called the Duchesses or even Dukettes) are coming off a 26-9 season. Scaife carved them up for 26 points in 27 minutes of action.

Tyler hopes to continue the tradition of Scarlet Knights playing at the next level. The WNBA season recently concluded so we owe you a recap. Eight former Knights are laced them up on the U.S. top circuit, some of which pull double duty in European leagues this winter. How did they do in 2017?

Previous review here.

Cappie Pondexter was previous mentioned as one of the 20 greatest players in WNBA history and had her jersey retired at Rutgers last year. The seven time all-star averaged 9.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 27.2 minutes per game at age 34 close to her high school in Chicago. She saved her best three games for the Atlanta Dream against Ajavon and Hollivay, when she dropped 22, 20, and 17 points in the meetings.

Kahleah Copper was also a member of the Chicago Sky. She exploded in the last 4 games of the season herself with games of 21, 18, and 17 points. On the year that brought her up to 6.7 points per contest in only 14 minutes. Expect more in 2018. Basket Gdynia in Poland is her winter club.

Essence Carson started every game last seasons for the Los Angeles Sparks, winning the 2016 WNBA title. She saw a reduced role this season starting 14 of 24 games, but still tallied 3.1 points and 1.1 rebounds per contest as LA closed the season with 7 straight wins. Her best game came much earlier in the season against Erica Wheeler and Indiana, dropping 15 points including three of three from downtown.

Matee Ajavon now in her 10th season in the association, and only started two games for a rebuilding Atlanta club. She ended the season averaging 2.4 points and 1.2 rebounds, far from her career best of 14.7 ppg in 2011. The Liberian native still tallied almost a steal per game.

Washington Mystics v Phoenix Mercury
Ajavon (Rutgers) and Taurasi (Uconn) have a rivalry that continued in the pros.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Kia Vaughn was out to a slow start as she was still in Europe as the WNBA season began. She was happy to be back in her home city of New York though eventually. Late in the year, she and the Liberty hit their stride, winning their final 10 regular season games. In the last two to close out, she had 21 points and 12 rebounds. She’s in Turkey, playing for Fenerbahce this winter.

Liberty teammate Epiphanny Prince led the former Knights with 12 points and 5 rebounds per game. In the playoff finale, she hit her averages on the nose, but NY dropped the game to the Washington Mystics. She plays for Dynamo Kursk in Russia this time of year.

Erica Wheeler really excelled late in her third season, finishing with 11.8 points, 4.1 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. She tallied double digit points in her last 5 games, but her season highlight was against the aforementioned Liberty when she dropped 33 points at Madison Square Garden. Besiktas in Turkey is her winter club.

Rachel Hollivay’s second season did not go as she had hoped. Midway through the campaign she was let go by Atlanta after earning one start. Buducnost Bemax in Montenegro signed her for this season.

C. Vivian Stringer has produced a lot of pro talent, and now with a contract extension, can she crank out more? Scaife is the most logical candidate, but we will see if anyone else can step it up too.