The New York Liberty selected guard Brittany Boyd (ninth overall) and center Kiah Stokes (11th overall) in the first round of the 2015 WNBA Draft tonight. In addition, the team drafted guards Amber Orrange (23rd overall) and Laurin Mincy (27th overall) along with forward Michala Johnson (28th overall).
The two first round picks were acquired in separate transactions with the San Antonio Stars and Minnesota Lynx. The Liberty traded fifth-year guard Alex Montgomery to the Stars for the ninth overall selection used to acquire Boyd. The team also traded guard Anna Cruz, the 16th and 35th picks to the Lynx for the 11th (Stokes), 23rd (Orrange), and 28th (Johnson) picks.
“This was an outstanding draft for us,” said New York Liberty Senior Vice President of Business and Basketball Operations Kristin Bernert. “All of the players we selected today are people of quality character and fill key positions on our roster. We thank Alex Montgomery and Anna Cruz for their contributions to our team on and off the court.”
“We were surprised Boyd was still available,” said Liberty Head Coach Bill Laimbeer. “She was an obvious choice; she enhances our ability to attack the basket. She can really fill up a stats sheet.”
“Our objective in moving up in the draft was specifically to acquire Kiah Stokes. Her athleticism, length, and basketball IQ are the collective characteristics of where the New York Liberty are heading. We are thrilled with both picks.”
Boyd, a 5-9 guard, earned a 2015 AP All-American (2nd Team) selection as a senior with the University of California. Boyd was also named to the All-Pac 12 Team and All-Pac 12 Defensive Team three years in a row (2013, 2014, 2015). In her collegiate career, Boyd averaged 13.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 6.8 per game.
Stokes, a 6-3 center, set Connecticut’s single-season record for blocked shots as the Huskies captured their third consecutive NCAA championship this season. Named the 2014-15 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Stokes ranks third all-time at UConn for career blocks. Stokes posted collegiate career averages of 4.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks per game.
Orrange, a 5-9 guard, was an All Pac-12 selection as a sophomore, junior, and senior and is 20th all-time in Stanford history in points (1,414). Orrange averaged 9.8 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game in her collegiate career.
Mincy, a 6-0 guard out of the University of Maryland, was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team as a senior. In her collegiate career, she averaged 9.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game.
Johnson, a 6-3 forward out of the University of Wisconsin, suffered a season-ending injury in December 2014. Prior to the injury, Johnson had started all six games and was averaging 12.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. As a junior in 2014, Johnson was named to the first-team All-Big Ten.
New York opens regular season action against the Atlanta Dream on Friday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden. The home opener, presented by Kia, will feature a free giveaway to the first 5,000 fans. The team will host 17 home games during the 2015 regular season, along with one preseason matchup against the Atlanta Dream on Wednesday, May 27 at 11 a.m.