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UNCASVILLE, CT—A Rutgers women’s basketball program that has made a habit of sending players to the pros continued to do so on April 14, when former Scarlet Knights guard/forward Kahleah Copper and center Rachel Hollivay were selected in the 2016 WNBA Draft.
Copper became the seventh first-round pick in Rutgers history, and the first since Epiphany Prince in 2010, when she was selected seventh overall by the Washington Mystics.
The Philadelphia native enjoyed her finest season at Rutgers as a senior in 2015-16. She posted career highs in scoring (17.7 points per game), rebounds (7.97 per game), and steals (1.56 per game) while shooting 49.7% from the field. She started all 34 of the Scarlet Knights’ contests. The scoring and rebounding averages led the team.
Her strong season earned her second team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and media.
Last season was Copper’s third straight leading Rutgers in scoring. For her career, Copper’s 1,872 points rank third on the program’s all-time list, behind just Sue Wicks and Cappie Pondexter.
Hollivay was not far behind Copper, as she was selected just minutes later with the first pick in the second round, the thirteenth overall, by the Atlanta Dream.
Hollivay posted some career highs of her own in 2015-16, specifically in scoring (7.8 points per game) and rebounding (6.6 per game). The senior from Mississippi was also a major blocking threat, totaling 112 blocks over 34 games.
At 6-4, blocking has always been one of Hollivay’s specialties, and she led the Big Ten in blocks last season, and ranked fifth nationally. Her 322 career blocks are the most in Scarlet Knights history.
After an impressive 2015-16 season, she was rewarded by being named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team, and an honorable mention All-Big Ten team member.
Since the WNBA’s inception in 1997, 19 Scarlet Knights have been selected in the league’s draft.
Including Copper and Hollivay, there are currently nine former Rutgers players on WNBA rosters. Of the 12 teams in the league, six have representatives from the State University of New Jersey. Three of those teams will have multiple former Scarlet Knights.
Three of those teams will have multiple Scarlet Knights.
When Copper joins the Mystics in Washington, she will be teaming up with former Rutgers center Kia Vaughn. In Atlanta, Hollivay will be joining guard Matee Ajavon. The Chicago Sky also have two former Scarlet Knights in guard Cappie Pondexter and guard/forward Betnijah Laney, who was drafted in last year’s draft.
The WNBA preseason tips off on Sunday, May 1, with regular season action getting underway on Saturday, May 14.
While the Rutgers women’s basketball team has just produced two pro players, the men’s team may not be far behind, as star guard Corey Sanders declared for the 2016 NBA Draft.
However, Sanders has not hired an agent, and therefore has retained his amateur status, and can withdraw from the draft to return to Rutgers.