DURHAM, N.C. – Duke women’s basketball alumnae Chante Black, Krystal Thomas and Lindsey Harding each signed WNBA contracts this week with the Tulsa Shock, Phoenix Mercury and Los Angeles Sparks, respectively. Duke has eight alumnae currently playing in the WNBA, the third-highest among collegiate programs.
Black, a 2009 graduate, signed with the Tulsa Shock after being drafted in 2009 by Connecticut Sun. After playing one season with the Sun, Black signed with the Shock in 2010, playing in 34 games and averaging 5.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest. The 6-5 center registered 3.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game last season, appearing in 29 games for the Shock.
Thomas was drafted in 2011 by the Seattle Storm, and spent last season playing for the Phoenix Mercury, where she averaged 6.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Following the season, the 6-5 center signed with Jiangsu in the Chinese WCBA and averaged 17.2 points and 14.7 rebounds per game before resigning with the Mercury this week.
Harding graduated from Duke in 2007, and after being picked No. 1 overall by the Phoenix Mercury, was traded to Minnesota, where she spent two seasons, followed by two years with the Washington Mystics and the Atlanta Dream. Last season, Harding carried the Dream to a 19-15 regular season record, and in the first round of the playoffs, averaged 19.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. Now joining the Sparks, Harding has tallied career averages of 11.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists per contest.
In joining the Sparks, Harding is set to reunite with former Blue Devil teammate Alana Beard. Harding and Beard played together for two seasons while at Duke, winning the ACC Tournament twice and advancing to the NCAA Final Four in 2002 and 03 and NCAA Elite Eight in 2003-04. The duo also played together with the Washington Mystics as well. In addition to being teammates, Harding and Beard share another bond, as they are the only two women’s basketball players to have their numbers retired at Duke.
The WNBA opens its 2013 season May 24, when San Antonio hosts reigning champion Indiana.