Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike was selected by the Connecticut Sun with the top overall pick in the WNBA Draft Monday night. With the selection, Ogwumike becomes Stanford’s second No. 1 overall pick, joining older sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who was taken in the same slot by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2012.
The Ogwumike sisters also become part of a very exclusive club, joining Peyton and Eli Manning as the only siblings to each be taken with the first overall selection in a major American pro sports draft. Peyton Manning was selected first overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1998 NFL Draft, and Eli was taken with the No. 1 pick by the San Diego Chargers in 2004.
In addition to becoming Stanford’s second No. 1 overall selection, Chiney is also the Cardinal’s 11th WNBA first-round pick, the sixth in the last seven years, and the 22nd Stanford player to hear her name called at the event. She also became Stanford’s fourth No. 1 overall selection in a pro sports draft over the past three years, joining older sisters Nnemkadi (2012 WNBA Draft, Los Angeles Sparks), former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck (2012 NFL Draft, Indianapolis Colts), and former Stanford pitcher Mark Appel (2013 MLB Draft, Houston Astros). All four players are from Houston (Luck and Appel) or the Houston area, as the Ogwumikes hail from Cypress, a suburb of Houston.
Ogwumike and the Sun will feature on WNBA Opening Day May 16, hosting the New York Liberty at 4 p.m. PT.
Ogwumike finished a stellar collegiate career at Stanford last Sunday at the Final Four in Nashville, helping lead the Cardinal to a 33-4 record and its 12th appearance at women’s basketball’s signature event and sixth in the past seven years. The Cardinal also captured its 14th straight Pac-12 regular-season title.
This past Friday in Los Angeles she was named the John R. Wooden Award winner, becoming the first Stanford and Pac-12 player to receive the honor.
She was also a consensus All-American, being honored for the third straight year by the WBCA and in the process becoming just the fourth Stanford player to earn three nods from the organization, joining four-timer Candice Wiggins (2005-08) and three-timers Nicole Powell (2002-04) and Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2010-12). Chiney was also named to the All-America teams of the Associated Press, ESPN, the USBWA, the John R. Wooden Award and the Senior CLASS Award.
In 2013-14 Ogwumike was the only player in the country to rank in the NCAA top 10 in scoring (26.1 ppg – fourth), rebounding (12.1 rpg – ninth), field-goal percentage (60.1 – fourth), and double-doubles (27 – third). She swept the Pac-12’s Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards for the second straight year, with the defensive honor being her third in a row.
Ogwumike set numerous career and single-season records at both the school and conference levels this season. On Jan. 3 she became the Pac-12’s all-time leading rebounder, passing former teammate Kayla Pedersen’s benchmark of 1,266, and went on to finish her career with 1,567 rebounds. Over two months later, in an NCAA Tournament First Round game against South Dakota on March 22, Ogwumike passed former Stanford star Candice Wiggins’ mark of 2,629 points to become the Pac-12’s all-time leading scorer, finishing her career four games later with 2,737 points.
She also set new Stanford career benchmarks for field-goal percentage (58.9) and field goals made (1,100), besting the previous marks of Jeanne Ruark Hoff (58.6) and older sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike (965), respectively. Her total of 1,100 field goals is also the Pac-12 career record.
Her sum of 967 points in 2013-14 stands as the Pac-12 single-season benchmark and the sixth-highest in NCAA history, while she set new single-season conference marks with nine Pac-12 Player of the Week honors and 18 for her career.
At the NCAA level, Ogwumike’s rebounding total (1,567) ranks fifth all-time, while her scoring figure of 2,737 ranks 25th.
Off the court, Ogwumike showed her academic and creative versatility. In February she was named the Capital One Academic All-American of the Year, and to the Academic All-America Team by CoSIDA for the second straight season. A month later, she was named the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year prior to the Pac-12 Tournament.
In mid-March, she wrote and helped perform Stanford Athletics’ newest hit single, “N-E-R-D-S (#NerdAnthem)” which has become the soundtrack to the postseason runs of both the Stanford women’s and men’s basketball teams’ runs to the Sweet 16 and beyond. Reaching tens of thousands of hits and shares over social media while uniting Nerd Nation behind the Cardinal athletic programs, the follow-up to her and Nneka’s 2012 hit “Nerd City Kids” has become the rallying cry of the Stanford athletic department and its fan base.