Wichita State women’s basketball player Alex Harden was the first Shocker drafted by the WNBA since Phoenix selected Tootie Shaw in the second round in 2002. A previous version of this story had an incorrect history of drafted WSU players.
Wichita State guard Alex Harden didn’t expect to get drafted by an WNBA team on Thursday night. She did and she has the text messages to prove it.
“Over 50,” she said. “It was like I was in a dream. But by all the phone calls and text messages I got, I knew it wasn’t a dream.”
The Phoenix Mercury, defending WNBA champions, grabbed Harden in the second round with the 18th pick overall. She is the first WSU player drafted by a WNBA team.
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The news set off a celebration in the apartment she shares with Shockers Michaela Dapprich and Alie Decker.
“They came in screaming and tackled me,” Harden said. “I honestly thought I would go undrafted. I was watching and thinking maybe I would get in at the end of the third round. I was speechless.”
Harden, a 5-foot-11 guard from Springfield, Ill., earned honorable mention AP All-America honors after averaging 17 points, 6 rebounds and 3.4 assists. She led WSU to a 29-5 season and its third consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. She was chosen Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year after leading WSU to its third straight Valley title.
Harden will finish the semester and prepare for training camp starting May 17 in Phoenix. The seasons begins June 5. She is not guaranteed a roster spot and must earn her way onto an experienced team with depth at guard.
“I have to make sure I’m on my game before I go down there,” she said. “I’m going to work on my shot, work on my ball-handling, get my conditioning, still go to weights. Same things you do in-season, just to a higher degree because I’m playing against professionals.”
Harden is WSU’s career scoring leader with 1,708 points.