Gonzaga star Courtney Vandersloot became the highest drafted basketball player with local ties when the Chicago Sky selected her with the third pick in the WNBA Draft Monday afternoon.
The Sky added University High School graduate Angie Bjorklund, from Tennessee, in the second round, the 17th pick overall.
“I’m so excited,” the 5-foot-8 point guard from Kent, Wash., said. “I was very surprised. I heard that Chicago was interested but I tried to go into it with an open mind. I didn’t expect anything.”
The Sky, 14-20 last season, is coached by Pokey Chapman, a former professional point guard as well as a long-time coach at LSU, which also excited Vandersloot.
“I’m excited to play for someone who knows how to teach it,” she said.
Vandersloot will return to Spokane on Tuesday after attending the draft in Bristol, Conn. She graduates May 8, then reports to training camp.
As expected, Minnesota took Connecticut star Maya Moore with the first pick and Tulsa took 6-8 Australian teenager Liz Cambage with the second pick.
Vandersloot is the second Bulldog to be drafted. Vivian Frieson was taken in the third round, 31st overall, by Tulsa last year.
Vandersloot set number records, including the NCAA single season assist record and became the first player in NCAA history to score 2,000 points and hand out 1,000 assists.
Bjorklund, who set a Tennessee record with 305 3-pointers and finished 20th on the Lady Vols’ career scoring list with more than 1,400 points, is the fourth Greater Spokane League player to be picked. Two seasons ago Briann January (Lewis and Clark/Arizona State) was the sixth pick by Indiana. Prior to that, Emily Westerberg (Central Valley/ASU) went to Phoenix in the third round in 2007 but she elected not to play. Stacy Clinesmith (Mead/UC Santa Barbara) was a second-round pick in 200 and played three seasons.