Stanford's Ogwumike goes No. 1 in the WNBA Draft

Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike was selected by the Connecticut Sun with the top overall pick in the WNBA Draft on Monday night. With the selection, Ogwumike becomes Stanford's second No. 1 overall pick, joining older sister, Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who was taken in the same slot by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2012.

"To be picked No. 1 in front of those Connecticut fans with my family and sister, it's unreal," Chiney Ogwumike said.

The Ogwumike sisters also become part of a very exclusive club, joining Peyton and Eli Manning as the only siblings to each be taken with the first overall selection in a major American pro sports draft. Peyton Manning was selected first overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1998 NFL Draft, and Eli was taken with the No. 1 pick by the San Diego Chargers in 2004.

Stanford fifth-year forward Mikaela Ruef, meanwhile, was selected with the seventh pick of the third round (31st overall) by the Seattle Storm.

In addition to becoming Stanford's second No. 1 overall selection, Chiney is also the Cardinal's 11th WNBA first-round pick, the sixth in the past seven years, and the 22nd Stanford player to hear her name called at the event.

She also became Stanford's fourth No. 1 overall selection in a pro sports draft over the past three years, joining older sisters Nnemkadi (2012 WNBA Draft, Los Angeles Sparks), former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck (2012 NFL Draft, Indianapolis Colts), and former Stanford pitcher Mark Appel (2013 MLB Draft, Houston Astros). All four players are from Houston (Luck and Appel) or the Houston area, as the Ogwumikes hail from Cypress, a suburb of Houston.

Ogwumike and the Sun will feature on WNBA Opening Day May 16, hosting the New York Liberty.

Ogwumike finished a stellar collegiate career at Stanford last Sunday at the Final Four in Nashville, helping lead the Cardinal to a 33-4 record and its 12th appearance at women's basketball's signature event and sixth in the past seven years. The Cardinal also captured its 14th straight Pac-12 regular-season title.

This past Friday in Los Angeles she was named the John R. Wooden Award winner, becoming the first Stanford and Pac-12 player to receive the honor.

She was also a consensus All-American, being honored for the third straight year by the WBCA and in the process becoming just the fourth Stanford player to earn three nods from the organization, joining four-timer Candice Wiggins (2005-08) and three-timers Nicole Powell (2002-04) and Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2010-12). Chiney was also named to the All-America teams of the Associated Press, ESPN, the USBWA, the John R. Wooden Award and the Senior CLASS Award.

In 2013-14 Ogwumike was the only player in the country to rank in the NCAA top 10 in scoring (26.1 ppg, fourth), rebounding (12.1 rpg, ninth), field-goal percentage (60.1, fourth), and double-doubles (27, third). She swept the Pac-12's Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards for the second straight year, with the defensive honor being her third in a row.

Ogwumike set numerous career and single-season records at both the school and conference levels this season. On Jan. 3 she became the Pac-12's all-time leading rebounder, passing former teammate Kayla Pedersen's benchmark of 1,266, and went on to finish her career with 1,567 rebounds. Over two months later, in an NCAA Tournament first-round game against South Dakota on March 22, Ogwumike passed former Stanford star Candice Wiggins' mark of 2,629 points to become the Pac-12's all-time leading scorer, finishing her career four games later with 2,737 points.

She also set new Stanford career benchmarks for field-goal percentage (58.9) and field goals made (1,100), besting the previous marks of Jeanne Ruark Hoff (58.6) and older sister Nnemkadi (965), respectively. Her total of 1,100 field goals is also the Pac-12 career record.

Her sum of 967 points in 2013-14 stands as the Pac-12 single-season benchmark and the sixth-highest in NCAA history, while she set new single-season conference marks with nine Pac-12 Player of the Week honors and 18 for her career.

At the NCAA level, Ogwumike's rebounding total (1,567) ranks fifth all-time, while her scoring figure of 2,737 ranks 25th.

Off the court, Ogwumike showed her academic and creative versatility. In February she was named the Capital One Academic All-American of the Year, and to the Academic All-America Team by CoSIDA for the second straight season. A month later, she was named the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year prior to the Pac-12 Tournament.

Ruef, meanwhile, is the 23rd Stanford player to be selected in the WNBA Draft. Ruef's and Ogwumike's selections give Stanford multiple picks in a single WNBA Draft for the seventh time (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2014), and the first since Pedersen (seventh, Tulsa Shock) and Jeanette Pohlen (ninth, Indiana Fever) both went in the 2011 first round.

Ruef, from Beavercreek, Ohio, spent five years on The Farm and went to four Final Fours with the Cardinal.

She enjoyed a career year in 2013-14, being named All-Pac-12 honorable mention while averaging personal bests of 7.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.27 assists per game. Her rebounding figure ranked fifth in the Pac-12 while she also finished ninth in assists and sixth with a 1.75 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Ruef's passing game and figures helped established her as one of the top passing posts in the country, as her assists-per-game figure and assist-to-turnover ratio each were the best among Pac-12 posts.

— Aaron Juarez/Stanford Athletics


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