EAST LANSING, Mich. - Former Michigan State women’s basketball guard Tori Jankoska was drafted ninth by the Chicago Sky at the 2017 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm on Thursday. This is the second-straight season that the Spartans have had a player drafted in the top 10 as Aerial Powers was the fifth overall pick in 2016.
Complete Draft Coverage
Jankoska was one of four players from the Big Ten Conference to be drafted in the first round along with Northwestern’s Nia Coffey, who was drafted by San Antonio (fifth overall pick), Maryland’s Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, who was chosen by Washington (sixth overall pick) and Maryland’s Brionna Jones, who was drafted by Connecticut (eight overall pick). Last season, three B1G Players were taken in the first round.
The Spartan guard joins three players from B1G schools on the Sky roster in Kahleah Copper, Betnijah Laney and Cappie Pondexter, all from Rutgers.
“I am really excited, and Chicago is a great city. They have a new coach and are re-building their program. I am just really excited to go and try to earn a spot there. This is really thrilling, and I am so glad to be able to share it with those people who mean the most to me. I am blessed to have this opportunity,” Jankoska said.
Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant watched the draft in Freeland along with the Jankoska family.
“She is just a great player and whoever got her was going to get a champion and a warrior, and I am so proud. She is self made all the way.” Merchant said. “I was so excited; it couldn’t happen to a better kid. You feel like it is your own child that is getting this opportunity. It is a lot of blood, sweat and tears on her part, and a lot of sacrifice on her family’s part. We have been blessed with some really great players at Michigan State, but to have back-to-back first-round picks; it doesn’t get better than that.”
Jankoska, a Freeland, Michigan native, became the seventh Spartan to be selected in the WNBA draft and the second-straight after Aerial Powers was the fifth overall pick in 2016 going to the Dallas Wings. Maxann Reese and Kristen Rasmussen were the first Spartans selected in the WNBA, drafted in 2000. Reese was taken in the third round, while Rasmussen was selected in the fourth. In 2003, Syreeta Broomfield was drafted in the third round. In 2005, Kristin Haynie was the ninth overall pick by Sacramento, while Liz Shimek was taken in the second round by Phoenix in 2006.
With the first pick in the 2017 draft, San Antonio picked Washington’s Kelsey Plum. South Carolina’s Alaina Coates became Jankoska’s new teammate when she was chosen second by the Sky. With the third pick of the draft, Powers’ Dallas Wings chose Kentucky’s Evelyn Akhator.
The Spartan guard had a stellar senior campaign, becoming the MSU career scoring leader and the first Spartan women’s basketball player to eclipse the 2,000-point mark, ending her career with 2,212 points. She also broke the Michigan State single-season scoring record with 746 points this season, which ranked second in the Big Ten. Jankoska broke Powers single-season record, averaging 22.6 ppg. Jankoska also became Michigan State’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made with 320 and free throws made with 478. She was also second in career assists with 489. A sharp-shooter from beyond the arc, she also broke the MSU single-season record for treys with 122.
The four Big Ten players selected in the first round were part of a total of five B1G players selected in the WNBA draft. Ohio State’s Shayla Cooper went to Connecticut with the first pick of the second round.
The Big Ten has had at least three selections in each WNBA draft with as many as 10 selections in 2000 and 2002.
Complete results for WNBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm are below:
1. San Antonio Stars: Kelsey Plum, Washington, guard
2. Chicago Sky: Alaina Coates, South Carolina, center (pick from Washington)
3. Dallas Wings: Evelyn Akhator, Kentucky, forward/center
4. Dallas Wings: Allisha Gray, South Carolina, guard (pick from Connecticut via Los Angeles)
5. San Antonio Stars: Nia Coffey, Northwestern, forward (pick from Phoenix)
6. Washington Mystics: Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Maryland, guard (pick from Seattle)
7. Atlanta Dream: Brittney Sykes, Syracuse, guard
8. Connecticut Sun: Brionna Jones, Maryland, center (pick from Indiana)
9. Chicago Sky: Tori Jankoska, Michigan State, guard
10. Dallas Wings: Kaela Davis, South Carolina, guard (pick from New York)
11. Los Angeles Sparks: Sydney Wiese, Oregon State, guard (pick from Los Angeles via Dallas)
12. Minnesota Lynx: Alexis Jones, Baylor, guard
13. Connecticut Sun: Shayla Cooper, Ohio State, forward (pick from San Antonio via Phoenix)
14. New York Liberty: Lindsay Allen, Notre Dame, guard (pick from Dallas)
15. Seattle Storm: Alexis Peterson, Syracuse, guard (pick from Washington)
16. Connecticut Sun: Leticia Romero, Florida State, guard
17. Indiana Fever: Erica McCall, Stanford, forward (pick from Phoenix)
18. Washington Mystics: Jennie Simms, Old Dominion, guard (pick from Seattle)
19. Atlanta Dream: Jordan Reynolds, Tennessee, guard
20. Indiana Fever: Feyonda Fitzgerald, Temple, guard
21. Chicago Sky: Chantel Osahor, Washington, forward/center
22. Indiana Fever: Ronni Williams, Florida, forward (pick from New York via Atlanta)
23. Dallas Wings: Breanna Lewis, Kansas State, center (pick from Los Angeles)
24. Minnesota Lynx: Lisa Berkani, France, guard
25. San Antonio Stars: Schaquilla Nunn, Tennessee, forward
26. Dallas Wings: Saniya Chong, Connecticut, guard
27. Washington Mystics: Mehryn Kraker, Wisconsin-Green Bay, forward
28. Connecticut Sun: Jessica January, DePaul, guard
29. Phoenix Mercury: Alexis Prince, Baylor, guard
30. Seattle Storm: Lanay Montgomery, West Virginia, center
31. Atlanta Dream: Oderah Chidom, Duke, forward
32. Indiana Fever: Adrienne Motley, Miami (Fla.), guard
33. Chicago Sky: Makayla Epps, Kentucky, guard
34. New York Liberty: Kai James, Florida State, center
35. Los Angeles Sparks: Saicha Grant-Allen, Dayton, center
36. Minnesota Lynx: Tahlia Tupaea, Australia, guard