ARLINGTON, TX., April 13, 2017 – The Dallas Wings selected forward Evelyn Akhator out of the University of Kentucky with the third pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft. Dallas then chose South Carolina teammates Allisha Gray (4th) and Kaela Davis (10th) from the University of South Carolina to round-out the team’s three top-10 picks. The Wings concluded their draft class by selecting Kansas State forward Breanna Lewis with the 23rd pick overall and University of Connecticut guard Saniya Chong with the 26th overall pick.
“We are very pleased with what we were able to accomplish in this year’s draft,” said Wings President & CEO Greg Bibb. “Coming in with three of the top 10 picks and five overall, we knew we had an opportunity to improve our team, and I think we accomplished that tonight. When you look at the players we were able to acquire, some of the thoughts that come to mind are versatility, winning mentality, hard workers and quality individuals. We are excited to have this draft class competing in the upcoming training camp.”
Akhator started in 66 games over two seasons with the Wildcats, earning All-SEC honors from conference’s coaches her junior and senior years. Overall for Kentucky, she averaged 13.7 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per game. As a senior, she had an All-America season for the Wildcats, earning Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention honors, pacing the SEC in rebounds per game, ranking 11th in Division I; and was 5th in field goal percentage. She was also tied for 10th in Division I play in double-doubles with 18.
Gray, a fourth-year junior transfer by way of North Carolina, played a key role in helping the Gamecocks win a national title just two weeks ago in Dallas. On her run to the national title, she averaged 16.5 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game, and a 56.8 field goal percentage in the NCAA Tournament while being selected to the NCAA’s All-Final Four Team and All-Stockton Regional Team. At North Carolina, Gray’s 1,053 points were the second-most for a Tar Heel’s first two seasons and she was named First-Team All-ACC (2015) and ACC All-Freshman Team (2014)
“I think it’s a well-balanced draft for us,” said Head Coach Fred Williams. “We were able to get players in the front line and in the post area, and in our perimeter game. I’m excited about our upcoming training camp, it should be very competitive.”
A 6-2 guard, Davis, along with her teammate Gray, renounced her remaining season of eligibility to enter the draft. An NCAA Stockton Regional Most Outstanding Player en route to the Final Four, she averaged 15.8 points per game in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments. In the postseason, she scored 20 points in four of eight games, including both regional games. She ended the 2016-17 season averaging 12.8 points per game while 80.8 percent from the free throw line.
Lewis, who played all 34 games in the 2016-17 season, was the fourth player in Kansas State history with 1,500+ career points and 800+ career rebounds. Overall, she averaged 12.1 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per contest, recording the most boards in her final season with 280 (8.2 per game).
Chong, who was named to the 2016-17 All-Conference Third Team, averaged 8.2 points per game and shot 47.0 percent from the field. She saw time in 33 games and earned three starting assignments last season.
With the five picks selected in this year’s draft, this ranks as the third time in franchise history that the team has had five picks or more.
The Wings will begin training camp on April 23, and will face San Antonio on April 29 and Indiana on May 6 in pre-season action before tipping off the 2017 regular season on May 14 in Phoenix against the Mercury.