It was no secret Nia Coffey's name would be called early in Thursday's WNBA draft. Just how early was the question, and it didn't take long to get an answer.
Coffey, who was a standout player in high school for Hopkins, was taken No. 5 overall by the San Antonio Stars. The 6-1 forward is Northwestern's all-time leader in rebounds (1,183), free throws made (496) and attempted (753). She is the fifth woman in Big Ten Conference history to finish with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
Stars general manager Ruth Riley told the San Antonio Express-News that Coffey has an "incredible skill set. She’s yet to even tap into her potential. Great all-around person; hard work ethic. We feel like she really fits in to what we’re trying to build here."
She's the first Wildcats player to be taken in the first round.
Former Richfield guard Jessica January was taken by Connecticut iin the third round. January played for DePaul, where she averaged 15 points per game despite missing part of the season with a broken finger.
Coffey is joining the team that finished with the worst record in the WNBA last season at 7-27. San Antonio also had the first overall pick and used it to select Kelsey Plum, the high-scoring forward from Washington.
“As a staff, we felt really good about Kelsey at No. 1 and we’re really excited to have Coffey at No. 5," Riley told the Express-News. "Having the 1 and 5 picks really helped. It’s not every year that you have two first-round picks and two high first-round picks. We felt really confident that we were going to get a good combination between those two.”
Coffey and the Stars will play the Lynx at Xcel Energy center on May 28 and June 25.
Nia Coffey is the older sister of Gophers freshman star Amir Coffey, who watched the draft Thursday night and said: “Our father and our mom always told us to have big dreams and that no dream is too big."