2018 WNBA Draft: Kia Nurse to New York Liberty

By Danielle McCartan (@CoachMcCartan and facebook.com/CoachMcCartan)

BERGEN COUNTRY, N.J.- With the tenth overall pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft, the New York Liberty selected Kia Nurse, a guard from the University of Connecticut.

At 6′, Nurse is versitile: she can play as the 1 or the 2 guard.  That is an area at which the Liberty needed to improve. Nurses’ addition is an immediate upgrade.  She is a career 48.5% field goal shooter, a 44% three-point shooter (9th in the nation), averages approximately 12 points per game, and 3 rebounds per game.  She is most noted for her defensive prowess. She, according to analyst and former WNBA star Rebecca Lobo (who, like Nurse, also starred at the UCONN and was also drafted by the Liberty), can “take a player out of her game with her defense”.  She received two defensive honors in her senior year: American Conference DPOY and WBCA Defensive Player of the Year.

Seemingly, most of Nurse’s relatives are professional athletes: her father, her mother, her aunt, her cousin, and, most notably, her brother.  Darnell Nurse was drafted 7th overall in the 2013 National Hockey League draft by the Edmonton Oilers.  Additionally, her aunt, Raquel Nurse, who played basketball at Syracuse is married to former Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb. McNabb will have no choice but to join the other side of the New York/Philadelphia rivalry after tonight’s draft!

The Liberty are under the direction of a new head coach after the departure of Bill Laimbeer (who is pioneering the Las Vegas Aces’ inaugural season this year in a head coach and administrative role).  Katie Smith, newly announced to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this fall, was a stellar guard who can serve as a role model to Nurse. On draft night, Nurse said that she is hoping to improve upon her mid-range game and finishing around the rim.  Nurse alluded to the fact that Smith seems to have already touched base with her in regards to working with her in these specific areas.

The Liberty are coming off a season where they were expected to make a deep run in the playoffs, but exited unceremoniously at Madison Square Garden in the second round. The #6 Washington Mystics knocked out the Liberty, seeded third. The Liberty exited the playoffs in the second round in the last two seasons. After meeting the same, exact fate with the Liberty in two consecutive seasons, at her locker, Kia Stokes, Liberty center, told me after that game: “it’s tough.”

New York fans are hoping that Nurses’ experience as a two-time national champion with the UCONN Huskies will carry the Liberty over the playoff hump and to the WNBA championship.

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