For the second consecutive year, the Ohio State women’s basketball team watched as one of its members had her name called on draft night. Shayla Cooper, who just completed her senior season for the Buckeyes, was selected by the Connecticut Sun with the No. 13 pick in the WNBA draft on Thursday night.
Cooper, a native of Norcross, GA who transferred to Ohio State from Georgetown, was the lone senior for the 2016-17 squad. She ranked third on the team in scoring at 10.5 points per game, second in rebounding at 6.7 per game, and dished out 2.1 assists per game while shooting 47.5 percent from the floor and notching six double-doubles.
The Buckeyes, who went 28-7 on the year, won a share of the Big Ten regular season title, tying atop the standings with Maryland, and went into the conference tournament with the top seed. The team received a bid to the NCAA tournament as a five seed, and progressed to the Sweet 16 before being knocked off by Notre Dame, the No. 1 seed in the Lexington Region.
For her career in scarlet and gray, Cooper appeared in 90 games, including 44 starts. She scored over 1,000 career points, averaging 11.5 per game while pulling down 7.5 boards, and made a reputation for herself as a player who could score on the perimeter, in the paint, or off the dribble.
What Cooper will perhaps be best remembered for, though, was her toughness and versatility. At 6’2, she had no problems mixing it up down low and gave Ohio State an edge to its personality. Cooper could defend all five positions on the court, and her all-around game led to second-team All-Big selections as both a junior and senior.
The top pick in this year’s WNBA draft was Kelsey Plum of Washington, who coincidentally was recruited to the Huskies by current Buckeye head coach Kevin McGuff during his tenure there. Plum, who broke the NCAA’s all-time career scoring record this past season, was selected by San Antonio. The Stars received the top pick after amassing a 7-27 record in 2016.
A year ago, Ohio State’s Ameryst Alston was selected 24th overall by the New York Liberty. Cooper will now join her among the ranks of professional Buckeyes.
The 21st season of the WNBA will get underway on Saturday, May 13th. Cooper and Connecticut will host Atlanta on that night in the Mohegan Sun Arena.