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BRISTOL, Conn. – Texas A&M junior center Kelsey Bone set Aggie Women’s Basketball history Monday evening when she was selected by the New York Liberty with the fifth pick in the first round of the WNBA draft.

Bone (Houston, Texas) joined a long and impressive list of Aggies who, under the tutelage of Hall of Fame coach Gary Blair, have continued their career at the highest level. Monday’s selection marked the sixth consecutive season that an A&M player was drafted into the WNBA. The Aggies have now had nine players drafted in the past six years, most recently Tyra White and Sydney Carter last season.

Bone became the first Aggie selected in the first round with the fifth pick, the highest selection for any Aggies in a WNBA Draft. Prior to Monday evening the highest A&M selection was 16th overall; three Aggies had been selected with the 16th pick, White, Sydney Colson and Danielle Gant in the 2012, 2011 and 2009 Drafts respectively.

Bone’s list of accolades has continued to grow following a spectacular season in the maroon and white. A consensus All-America pick and the SEC Tournament’s MVP, she scored the fourth most points in a single season in program history with 582 while ranking third in the SEC at 16.6 points per game. Additionally, Bone pulled down 326 rebounds--ranking second all-time in the A&M single season record books—and placed second in the SEC averaging 9.3 rebounds per contest. The Dulles high school product was the only representative from the SEC on the USBWA All-American team.

Among Bone’s highlights in an Aggie uniform were a career-high 33-point outburst in the World Vision Classic in Las Vegas against Old Dominion, one of her SEC-leading two 30-point outings this past season. The center also recorded an Aggie Reed Arena-record 17 rebounds against Ole Miss in late February. Additionally, Bone led the league in field-goal percentage.

“Kelsey knew that she had an opportunity to be selected by one of the best coaches in the league that has won championships as a coach and as a player in Bill Laimbeer,” A&M Head Coach Gary Blair said. “I think this is a win-win for Kelsey to be able to use her experience working with the Liberty staff that will help her grow even more this year as a player. Kelsey has done a great job over the last year improving her game, I do not think anyone can find a player in the country that has improved more than Kelsey Bone. I think she will have to go learn in New York and will fit into the scene in the Big Apple which will translate to an opportunity to play overseas and become a force on the national scene. The Liberty will have a chance to compete this season with the other heavyweights in the Eastern Conference and will have a chance to advance in the playoffs.”

Other A&M draftees under Blair include the likes of Colson, Danielle Adams, Tanisha Smith, Gant, Morenike Atunrase, A’Quonesia Franklin and Toccara Williams. Prior to Blair’s arrival, only one Aggie—Jaynetta Saunders in 2001—was chosen in the WNBA Draft.

“I entered the WNBA draft to become a member of the New York Liberty,” Bone said following her selection. “This was what I wanted to do, it was a chance that I wanted to take and once the opportunity presented itself, I took it. Just understanding that in this league it is easy to come in and blend in and take a back seat to veterans, but going to New York I have the opportunity to play with some great players that play in the post and play for a staff full of post players. This is a great fit and I am so excited to go in and learn this game even more from some great people and great players.”

Comprised of 12 teams in Atlanta, Chicago, Connecticut, Indiana, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New York, Phoenix, San Antonio, Seattle, Tulsa, and Washington D.C., the WNBA is the most successful women's professional team sports league in the world and will tip off its 17th season on Friday, May 24, 2012.

 

TEXAS A&M’S ALL-TIME WNBA DRAFT SELECTIONS (11)

·         Kelsey Bone* (5th overall, 2013 First Round, New York Liberty)

·         Tyra White* (16th overall, 2012 Second Round, Los Angeles Sparks)

·         Sydney Carter* (27th overall, 2012 Third Round, Chicago Sky)

·         Sydney Colson* (16th overall, 2011 Second Round, Connecticut Sun [traded to New York Liberty])

·         Danielle Adams* (20th overall, 2011 Second Round, San Antonio Silver Stars)

·         Tanisha Smith* (22nd overall, 2010 Second Round, Seattle Storm)

·         Danielle Gant* (16th overall, 2009 Second Round, Chicago Sky)

·         Morenike Atunrase* (24th overall, 2008 Second Round, Atlanta Dream [traded to San Antonio Silver Stars])

·         A’Quonesia Franklin* (38th overall, 2008 Third Round, Sacramento Monarchs)

·         Toccara Williams* (34th overall, 2004 Third Round, San Antonio Silver Stars)

·         Jaynetta Saunders (27th overall, 2001 Second Round, Cleveland Rockers)

* under Gary Blair

 

GARY BLAIR’S ALL-TIME WNBA DRAFT SELECTIONS (13)

·         Kelsey Bone* (5th overall, 2013 Second Round, New York Liberty)

·         Tyra White* (16th overall, 2012 Second Round, Los Angeles Sparks)

·         Sydney Carter* (27th overall, 2012 Third Round, Chicago Sky)

·         Sydney Colson* (16th overall, 2011 Second Round, Connecticut Sun [traded to New York Liberty])

·         Danielle Adams* (20th overall, 2011 Second Round, San Antonio Silver Stars)

·         Tanisha Smith* (22nd overall, 2010 Second Round, Seattle Storm)

·         Danielle Gant* (16th overall, 2009 Second Round, Chicago Sky)

·         Morenike Atunrase* (24th overall, 2008 Second Round, Atlanta Dream [traded to San Antonio Silver Stars])

·         A’Quonesia Franklin* (38th overall, 2008 Third Round, Sacramento Monarchs)

·         Toccara Williams* (34th overall, 2004 Third Round, San Antonio Silver Stars)

·         Shameka Christon** (5th overall, 2004 First Round, New York Liberty)

·         Dana Cherry** (23rd overall, 2003 Second Round, Charlotte Sting)

·         Christy Smith** (17th overall, 1998 Second Round, Charlotte Sting)

* at Texas A&M  ** at Arkansas


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