Chelsea Gray and Tricia Liston being selected with the 11th and 12th picks, respectively, on Monday evening at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.UNCASVILLE, Conn. – For the third time in school history, Duke University women’s basketball featured two selections in the 2014 WNBA Draft with seniors
Gray and Liston were taken with back-to-back selections as Gray was taken by the Connecticut Sun with the 11th overall selection, while Liston was nabbed with the 12th pick by the Minnesota Lynx to close the first round. The two other times Duke featured multiple first round draft selections were in 2007 with Lindsey Harding (1st) and Alison Bales (9th) and in 2004 with Alana Beard (2nd) and Iciss Tillis (11th).
“It is hard to describe it in words,” commented Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie on having two first round selections. “For all that Chelsea has been through. For the Connecticut Sun to understand her value and how terrific she is, it is absolutely incredible. To see Chelsea come up as 11 and see Tricia come up as 12, it was perfect. They played together for four years and they have been fantastic. It makes sense for them to be in the first round together. We are all so excited for Tricia because she has worked so hard.”
Duke has now placed nine Blue Devils in the first round of the WNBA Draft and nine Duke student-athletes have been selected in the WNBA Draft since McCallie took over the program in 2007-08.
A senior from Manteca, Calif., Gray is one of the top point guards in the nation. The two-time All-America had her junior and senior campaigns cut short due to knee injuries. As a junior, Gray played in 25 contests before suffering a dislocated kneecap against Wake Forest on Feb. 17, 2013. She averaged 12.6 points, 5.4 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 3.6 steals on the season, but still was named Co-ACC Player of the Year, Associated Press and WBCA Coaches All-America.
In 2013-14, Gray was averaging 10.8 points, 7.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.9 steals through 17 games. Her 7.2 assists ranked sixth nationally and she needed only 35 more dishes to become Duke’s all-time assist leader. In 109 career games, the 5-11 playmaker accumulated 1,210 points, 545 assists, 478 rebounds and 298 steals.
Liston, who is out of River Forest, Ill., had a breakout season in her final year with the Blue Devils averaging a team-high 17.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists. She collected 16 games with 20 or more points and her 48.1 three-point field goal percentage ranked second nationally. The 6-1 guard hit 52.5 percent of her field goals and 85.2 percent from the charity stripe on the season.
In 2013-14, Liston drained a school-record 87 three-pointers and concluded her outstanding career with a school-record 252 treys, which also ranks tied seventh on the ACC all-time charts. She was a First Team All-ACC selection by both the Blue Ribbon Panel and the league head coaches, while also earning All-ACC Tournament First Team accolades and being a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award. Liston was a midseason candidate for the Naismith and Wade Watch list.
Duke has had 19 players selected in the WNBA Draft in school history -- Lindsey Harding (Phoenix Mercury, No. 1 overall pick in 2007), Alana Beard (Washington Mystics, No. 2 overall pick in 2004), Monique Currie (Charlotte Sting, No. 3 overall pick in 2006), Alison Bales (Indiana Fever, No. 9 overall pick in 2007), Chante Black (Connecticut Sun, No. 10 overall pick in 2009), Iciss Tillis (Detroit Shock, No. 11 overall pick in 2004), Chelsea Gray (Connecticut Sun, No. 11 overall pick in 2014), Tricia Liston (No. 12 overall pick in 2014), Jasmine Thomas (Seattle Storm, No. 12 overall pick in 2011), Michele Van Gorp (New York Liberty, No. 18 overall pick in 1999), Georgia Schweitzer (Miami Sol, No. 21 overall pick in 2001), Mistie Bass (Phoenix Mercury, No. 21 overall pick in 2006), Abby Waner (New York Liberty, No. 21 in 2009), Karima Christmas (Washington Mystics, No. 23 overall pick in 2011), Wanisha Smith (New York Liberty, No. 27 overall pick in 2008), Joy Cheek (Indiana Fever, No. 35 in 2010), Krystal Thomas (Seattle Storm, No. 36 overall pick on 2011), Jessica Foley (Indiana Fever, No. 38 overall pick in 2006) and Peppi Browne (Charlotte Sting, No. 43 overall pick in 2000).