Kia Nurse tops New York Liberty 2018 WNBA Draft class

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 12: Kia Nurse stands with WNBA President Lisa Borders after being selected
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 12: Kia Nurse stands with WNBA President Lisa Borders after being selected /

Kia Nurse, the Connecticut star, ends up in an adjacent state.

NEW YORK—With the tenth pick of the 2018 WNBA Draft, the New York Liberty selected Connecticut guard Kia Nurse. The Liberty also selected Mercedes Russell (Tennessee) and Leslie Robinson (Princeton).

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It was generally believed—us included—that Nurse would stay local with the Connecticut Sun organization. During a live taping of Around the Rim, Curt Miller was asked about drafting Nurse.  “I’m not giving any hints, but I’ve got a lot of Nurse connections,” said Miller. He coached Kia’s older sister at Tamika at Bowling Green and her aunt at Syracuse.

The Canadian hoops fan who ultimately gets to coach Nurse? Katie Smith. “In Kia Nurse we got a very solid, big guard who can score and comes from a great program,” Smith said Thursday.

Miller will get his chance to catch up with the last of the pro Nurses next month when the Liberty participate in the Connecticut Sun preseason tournament. The Dallas Wings and Los Angeles Sparks will also participate.

Kia was honored to be at the WNBA Draft, regardless of her pro athlete pedigree. “If you ever get the opportunity to go to any kind of draft in your life, it’s wherever you go to play wherever somebody picks you. I feel most fortunate I was blessed to have the opportunity to go to New York.”

A good fit

When asked about if where she was drafted was more important than when she was drafted, Nurse replied, “Absolutely. I think for me personally it wasn’t about what number‚—anybody can go at any number. I think with me, I wanted to be a place where not only where I was wanted, but a place where I could fit in really well and I could take and learn from each and every day” Nurse added that from conversations she’s had and observing the team over the past several years, she does feel that New York is a good fit.

Nurse is a versatile guard that defends well and can shoot from the perimeter. The Liberty struggled from the arc last season. Nurse joins Sugar Rodgers, Rebecca Allen, and Bria Hartley as players who can hit from deep and draw the defense out.

Depth in the backcourt

Last season, an early injury to Brittany Boyd really shook things up at the guard position. With no Tanisha Wright, the Liberty rotated Hartley, Lindsay Allen and even forward Shavonte Zealous at the point. Epiphanny Prince and Sugar Rodgers were other key members of the backcourt.

Additionally, the Liberty offered contracts to Kelly Faris, Reshanda Gray, Jillian Alleyne, and Ify Ibekwe. “I think with our training camp signees, draft picks, and some of our players back from overseas already it is going to be a very intense training camp,” said Smith. “Overall I think we are going to compete and get better and that will be our goal until our first game.”