DURHAM, N.C.— The WNBA season is complete and congratulations goes out to the Seattle Storm, who won the 2018 WNBA championship. The Blue Devils made huge impacts in the WNBA during the season, including Krystal Thomas and Monique Currie helping the Washington Mystics advancing to the WNBA title game with the Washington Mystics.
Currie, Thomas Advance to WNBA Championship
For the fifth straight year, Duke was represented in the WNBA Championship as Monique Currie and Krystal Thomas helped lead the Washington Mystics in the finals against the Seattle Storm. The Storm were strong all season and finished with a 3-0 sweep of the Mystics to win the championship.
Both Currie and Thomas were making their first appearances in the WNBA Championship. They mark the ninth and 10th Blue Devils to see action in the WNBA title game since 1999.
It was the first WNBA finals trip in franchise history for the Washington Mystics.
Williams Helps Lead Atlanta into WNBA Semifinals
Elizabeth Williams and the Atlanta Dream took the Washington Mystics to a fifth and deciding game in the WNBA semifinals, but the Dream dropped an 86-81 decision to conclude their season. Williams had a solid playoffs ranking sixth in rebounds (8.8), sixth in blocks (1.2), 15th in field goal percentage (51.1) and 24th in scoring (10.8).
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you Dream fans for an unforgettable season. We will back next year and can’t wait to have you with us along for the ride again ❤️ pic.twitter.com/0dE5FKYsGm— Atlanta Dream (@AtlantaDream) September 5, 2018
Gray Holds Second Annual Gray Matters Shoe Giveaway
Duke graduate Chelsea Gray recently held the second annual “Gray Matters Shoe Giveaway” presented by Adidas at Safe Place for Youth on Thursday, Sept. 13. Gray was on hand in Venice, Calif., to donate shoes to homeless families and youth.
“It’s important to be active in the community and give back,” said the two-time All Star Gray. “Doing this event annually allows me to help kids, and bring smiles to their faces. Everyone smiles when they get a new pair of shoes.”
Join us with @cgray209 & her 2nd Annual Charity Gray Matters Shoe Giveaway.— Los Angeles Sparks (@LA_Sparks) September 5, 2018
Donate a pair of gently worn walking shoes & be entered to win signed items from Chelsea!🙌
Shoes will be collected at the Sparks’ Front Office M-F from 9am-5pm.#GoSparks #All4LA pic.twitter.com/jDZ2evIC7w
Brown Featured in Women’s Health Online
Recently, Duke alumnae Lexie Brown was featured in Women’s Health online as she was one of three inspiring female athletes dishing on what helps them lean into self-love, and why confidence is the ultimate style essential.
Three inspiring female athletes share what helps them lean into self-love. https://t.co/xEXg4RV2y0— Women's Health (@WomensHealthMag) September 10, 2018
Williams Selected to USA Basketball World Cup Squad
Following a loss in the WNBA semifinals, Elizabeth Williams was added to the USA Basketball training session in Columbia, S.C. Following a few days of action, Williams was selected one of 16 finalists for the 2018 USA Basketball Women’s World Cup Team. The athletes were selected by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee, which is chaired by USA Women’s National Team director Carol Callan.
Two-time defending World Cup gold medalists, the USA will compete in the 2018 FIBA World Cup, Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain.
Prior to arriving in the Canary Islands, for the World Cup, the USA will play in a four-team, international tournament in Antibes, France, Sept. 15-17, against Canada, France and Senegal.
Williams is no stranger to wearing the red, white and blue as she has won gold medals with USA Basketball on three separate occasions. She won gold in 2009 with the U16 National Team, in 2010 with the U17 World Championship team and won gold at the 2011 U19 World Championship. Williams was also a part of the 2016 USA Select Team that competed against the U.S. National team prior to the Olympic games.
The final 12-member 2018 USA World Cup Team will be selected by the USA Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee prior to the start of the World Cup.
Brown Arrives in Hungary
Lexie Brown has arrived in Hungary as she prepares to play overseas for the first time in her career. She will be playing in the Hungarian EuroCup for CMB Cargo Gyor.
worldwide. 🌍✈️🏀💚 pic.twitter.com/IyUmJD2L4I— Lexie Brown (@lexiekiah_4) September 10, 2018
Mathias’ Arrives in Italy
Ahead of her first professional season, Erin Mathias has arrived in Italy as she prepares to play with USE Scotti Empoli.
Very excited to be playing my first overseas season in Empoli, Italy! https://t.co/jNIAaiE01W— Erin Mathias (@emathias35) June 19, 2018
Firenze 🇮🇹 @ Ponte Vecchio Florence https://t.co/aK8JIamZIu— Erin Mathias (@emathias35) August 26, 2018
Beard, Thomas Receive WNBA Honors
For the second straight year, Duke University alumna and Los Angeles Sparks guard Alana Beard has been name the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, as announced Thursday by the WNBA office. Beard also received All-WNBA Defensive Team first team honors along with Duke graduate and current guard of the Connecticut Sun Jasmine Thomas.
Beard, a 2004 Duke graduate, received 16 votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters. She is just the fifth player in WNBA history to earn Defensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons.
Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx finished second with nine votes, Tiffany Hayes of the Atlanta Dream finished third with four votes, while Jessica Breland of Atlanta and Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury finished tied for fourth with two votes apiece.
Beard’s 1.47 steals per game ranked fourth in the WNBA and helped the Sparks pace the league in steals (7.94 steals per game) and points allowed (77.0 points per game). Los Angeles also ranked second in opponents’ turnovers per game (14.97) and defensive rating (98.7 points per 100 possessions).
For the season, Beard averaged 4.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 40.0 percent from three-point range. Her contributions helped the Sparks (19-15) make the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season.
Beard, an eight-time WNBA All-Defensive Team selection, was the second overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft and played six seasons for the Washington Mystics before joining the Sparks in 2012. The former Blue Devil standout ranks third on the WNBA’s all-time steals list with 698, tops among active players.
In honor of being named the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, Beard will receive $5,000 and a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.
A two-time National Player of the Year at Duke, Beard also received nine of a possible 11 votes from a panel of the league’s head coaches on her way to earning her fifth WNBA All-Defensive First Team selection and ninth All-Defensive nod overall (including four Second Team honors).
Beard (48 points) is joined on the WNBA All-Defensive First Team by Griner (41), Thomas (41), Seattle Storm forward Natasha Howard (37) and Atlanta Dream forward Jessica Breland (34).
Thomas, a 2011 Blue Devil graduate, received her second-consecutive first team honor, who earned a spot on the team in 2017 after being named a second team selection in 2016. Finishing up her eighth season with the Sun, Thomas totaled a team-high 37 steals in 2018, her fourth consecutive season with 35 or more thefts. She also had 85 defensive rebounds.
“I take pride in playing hard on both ends of the floor,” Thomas said. “It’s nice being recognized by other coaches for my defensive effort.”
The WNBA All-Defensive Second Team consists of Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles (32 points), Dream guard Tiffany Hayes (32), Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson (23), Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike (22) and Washington Mystics rookie guard Ariel Atkins (19).
Williams Elected Secretary of WNBPA
The Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) has announced the election of five officers on its executive committee, which includes Duke alumna and currently member of the Atlanta Dream, Elizabeth Williams as secretary.
Yesterday we wrapped up a great Union meeting with some of our Membership. Special thanks to @DeSmithNFLPA from the @NFLPA & @MRobertsNBPA from @TheNBPA for their support and participation. #ThePowerOfTheW #PlayersSupportingPlayers pic.twitter.com/nGaVXnggGq— WNBPA (@TheWNBPA) September 12, 2018
Along with Williams being tabbed secretary, Sue Bird, Elena Delle Donne and Chiney Ogwumike were elected to the offices of vice president, while Carolyn Swords was elected as treasurer. Nneka Ogwumike continues to serve as president of the WNBPA. The offices of vice president, secretary and treasurer all carry two-year terms.
Williams previously served as the player representative for her team, prior to being elected.