For the fifth time over the last eight seasons, Duke women’s basketball has featured a WNBA first round selection as Blue Devil fifth-year senior Lexie Brown was taken with the ninth overall selection by the Connecticut Sun Thursday evening at the Nike New York Headquarters. Duke fifth-year senior Rebecca Greenwell was also selected with the seventh pick in the third round by the Washington Mystics.
Overall, Brown became Duke’s 11th WNBA first round selection in school history and it marked the eighth time the Blue Devils have featured two or more draft picks in the same season.
“Honestly, finally,” said Brown. “It was a relief. Waiting out there was nerve-racking. Having my family by my side definitely helped. To have my name called is like my dreams are coming true. I wanted to cry, but my makeup, so I didn’t.
Brown, who hails from Suwanee, Ga., closed an outstanding collegiate career with the Blue Devils, after totaling 2,088 points, 587 assists, 345 steals, 262 three-pointers made and 455 rebounds. The 5-9 guard became only the third player in NCAA Power Five Conference history to accumulate over 2,000 points, 500 assists, 300 steals and 200 three-pointers during her time at Duke and Maryland.
“We are so excited for Lexie as I know this is an incredible moment for her to be drafted and to have that opportunity,” commented Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie. “Lexie is an amazing person who will impact Connecticut and make a difference. So now some of the excitement is there but also it’s time to go to work and I think she’s really ready to go to work.”
With Brown heading to Connecticut, she will join former Duke 2011 WNBA first round selection Jasmine Thomas, who enters her fourth season with the Sun. Greenwell will be the third Blue Devil on the Washington Mystics squad along with Monique Currie and Krystal Thomas.
“I know that they’re a team that’s on the rise,” commented Brown on the Sun. “A lot of young talent. Super excited, I loved watching them play. They like to play fast. They like to play defense. I’m just excited to be a part of the core they’re building.”
Brown is coming off turning in one of the best individual seasons in Duke and ACC history by averaging 19.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 3.7 steals for the Blue Devils. Her 122 steals were a new Duke single-season mark, breaking Duke great Alana Beard’s record of 114. The 5-9 guard collected an impressive 14 steals over her final two collegiate contests against 18th-ranked Georgia and top-ranked Connecticut.
The 2018 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Brown notched 16 games with 20 or more points and was selected All-ACC First Team for the second straight year. She notched espnW and Associated Press All-America and was named to the John R. Wooden Award final ballot, Naismith Player of the Year candidate, Wade Watch candidate, Senior CLASS Award finalist, Nancy Lieberman Award finalist and a top 15 finalist for the Dawn Staley Award among others.
The daughter of Dee Brown, who was selected with the 19th overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics, Lexie Brown became the first daughter of a former WNBA head coach to be drafted. Dee Brown was the Orlando Miracle head coach in 2002 and the San Antonio Silver Stars head coach in 2004.
Other daughters and dads that were selected in the WNBA and NBA drafts include – Natalie Williams (1990, 1st Round) and Nate Williams (1971 Hardship Draft), Tamika Catchings (2001, 1st Round) and Harvey Catchings (1974, 3rd Round), Cheryl Ford (2003, 1st Round) and Karl Malone (1985, 1st Round), Kaela Davis (2017, 1st Round) and Antonio Davis (1990, 2nd Round) and Abi Olajuwon (2010, 3rd Round) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1994, 1st Round).
A 6-1 native of Owensboro, Ky., Greenwell concluded her impressive career hitting a Duke record 301 three-pointers over four seasons, while also ranking fifth all-time on the ACC charts. She became just the second ACC player in history to drain 70 or more three-pointers in four straight seasons. Greenwell finished her Blue Devil career hitting 39.9 percent from downtown, which is the sixth-highest percentage at Duke.
“It feels great to get selected by Washington,” commented Greenwell. “This has been a dream of mine ever since I started playing basketball. I’m excited for this next chapter and so grateful I can continue to further my basketball career as a pro.”
As a senior, Greenwell sank 73 treys for an ACC-best 42.9 percentage. The three-time All-ACC selection also averaged 13.9 points, a team-high 6.4 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.6 assists. Greenwell was the first Blue Devil to amass 1,800 points, 600 rebounds and 200 made three-pointers over her career. She concluded her Duke career with 1,874 points, 761 rebounds and 215 steals. Greenwell ranked fifth in points, 12th in rebounds and 11th in steals on the Blue Devil career charts.
“We are absolutely thrilled for Becca,” said McCallie. “There’s no doubt in my mind that she has the passion, the work ethic, and the skill set to be exceptional and we are very proud of her, and excited for her that she was recognized in this way and has been given the opportunity to make her professional dreams come true.”
Duke has featured five first round draft selections over the last eight seasons – Brown (2018 – No. 9 overall), Elizabeth Williams (2015 – No. 4 overall), Chelsea Gray (2014 – No. 11 overall), Tricia Liston (2014 – No. 12 overall) and Jasmine Thomas (2011 – No. 12 overall).
Since the 2004 campaign, the Blue Devils have featured 20 WNBA draft selections, including 11 first round picks.