Storm select Kiana Williams, N’dea Jones, and Natalie Kucowski in second and third rounds of 2021 WNBA Draft
SEATTLE — The Seattle Storm opened Thursday’s 2021 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm with a trade, acquiring third-year guard Kennedy Burke from Indiana in exchange for the rights to the 11th overall pick Aaliyah Wilson. The Storm also added guard Kiana Williams (#18 overall) and forwards N’dea Jones (#23 overall) and Natalie Kucowski (#35 overall) to round out the draft.
“I’m really excited about how the draft ended up for us,” said Storm General Manager Talisa Rhea. “We added four great players and we look forward to seeing them compete at training camp.”
Burke reunites with former UCLA teammate Jordin Canada and former Fever teammate Candice Dupree in Seattle. In 2020, Burke averaged 7.2 points per game in 22 games with the Fever, including a career-high 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting against the Storm on Aug. 20. Originally a second-round pick (#22 overall) by the Dallas Wings in the 2019 WNBA Draft, Burke has spent the last two seasons in Indiana after being claimed by the Fever prior to the start of the 2019 season.
“We are excited to have Kennedy join us in Seattle,” said Rhea. “She’s a versatile player that has pro experience and we believe will be a great fit for our Storm culture.”
Kianna Williams—fresh off leading Stanford to the 2021 NCAA Championship—joins the Storm after a stellar career with the Cardinal. She averaged 13.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game over four seasons at Stanford and set the school record for career three-pointers made (310). Williams, who was named to the All-Pac-12 team three times and twice earned Pac-12 All-Tournament honors, started all but nine games in her career and averaged double-figures in scoring all four seasons.
N’dea Jones, a 6-foot-2 forward, was a two-time All-SEC selection and 2021 Honorable Mention All-American at Texas A&M. After playing sparingly as a freshman, she burst on the scene her sophomore season, ranking second in the SEC with 11.3 rebounds per game to go along with 7.7 points per contest. She bested those numbers as a junior, leading the conference with 11.7 boards while scoring 11.0 points a game to earn All-SEC honors. Jones leaves A&M as the school’s all-time leader in rebounds (1,056) and double-doubles (42).
Natalie Kucowski was a standout player at Lafayette College, closing out her career by earning 2020-21 Patriot League Women’s Basketball Player and Defensive Player of the Year honors. The 6-foot-3 forward averaged 17.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game during her banner senior season. For her career, Kucowski averaged an impressive 13.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.3 blocks per game, finishing as Lafayette’s all-time rebound leader with 1,197.
“We entered the draft understanding our needs for 2021 team and I feel like we met all of them,” said Storm Head Coach Dan Hughes. “Our picks bring a high level of competitiveness to our training camp group and it will be exciting to put together a roster for the season.”
The Storm begins its WNBA title defense in a Finals rematch against the Las Vegas Aces at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Wash. on Saturday, May 15 at 12 p.m. Opening Day presented by Swedish will feature a ring ceremony celebrating the franchise’s fourth WNBA title and second over the last three seasons.
—— StormBasketball.com ——