DURHAM, N.C. – As the 2013 WNBA season tips Friday, May 24, a total of seven former Duke standouts will suit up for seven different teams – Mistie Bass (Connecticut), Alana Beard (Los Angeles), Karima Christmas (Indiana), Monique Currie (Washington), Lindsey Harding (Los Angeles), Jasmine Thomas (Atlanta) and Krystal Thomas (Phoenix).
The seven Blue Devil alums rank third most active players in the WNBA from a collegiate program – Connecticut (11), Tennessee (8), Duke (7), North Carolina (6), Rutgers (6), Stanford (6), Ohio State (5), Maryland (5), LSU (4) and USC (4).
The season will officially get underway Friday as Indiana travels to San Antonio for an 8 p.m., contest. Saturday will mark the season opener for Tulsa and Atlanta at 7 p.m., while New York will make the short trip to Connecticut for a 7 p.m., tip. Los Angeles will open its season Sunday, hosting Seattle at 8:30 p.m. Washington and Tulsa will play in a game that can be seen on ESPN2 Monday at 3 p.m., while Phoenix will face Chicago at 5 p.m., on ESPN2.
Two Blue Devils – Beard and Harding – made the roster for the Sparks. A four-time WNBA All-Star, Beard averaged 11.4 points, 3.3 assists and 2.2 rebounds in 30.8 minutes and 33 games in 2012. Harding will begin her first season with the Sparks, as she averaged 12.3 points per game and ranked eighth in the WNBA in assists (4.5 APG).
After winning the Spanish League title over the winter, Currie enters her sixth consecutive season with the Mystics and seventh overall. Last season, Currie averaged 12.0 points and 3.6 rebounds, playing 24.1 minutes per game.
J. Thomas enters her third season in the league and her first in Atlanta. Last season in Washington, she averaged 8.2 points and 2.8 assists in 34 games played.
Christmas begins her first full season with the Fever after being acquired by the organization midway through the 2012 championship season. In the 16 games she played with the Fever, Christmas led the WNBA with a steals-to-turnover ratio of 2.25-to-1 (27:12).
Entering her third season and second full season with Phoenix, Krystal Thomas averaged 6.4 points per game in 29 games a season ago. She finished the season fifth in the league in average rebounds per game with 8.0.
Bass enters her seventh season in the WNBA and second with Connecticut. Last season, Bass averaged 8.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in 32 games played.