WNBA Rookie Report

By Cayla McMorris

Rookie of the week:  Kia Nurse, Liberty

Nurse scored a season-high 34 points in an 87-81 overtime win against the Fever on Sunday night.  Just as much as the game was exciting, so was Nurse’s play. She shot 50 percent from the field, while netting in 15 out of 16 free throws.  Before the half, she scored 11 points in a 16-0 run to help her team gain momentum going into halftime with a 46-29 lead. Not only did Nurse shoot nearly 40 percent from the three-point line, she did a little bit of everything in this game.  The 6-foot guard grabbed 9 rebounds and dished out 4 assists. Nurse is a player that is often overlooked when thinking about this rookie class. At UConn she was known as a great defender, but don’t forget she can put the ball in the basket, too.  Nurse scored a career-high 33 points against DePaul in college and as a freshman was the fifth leading scorer. As a rookie, Nurse is taking on a huge role and is excelling in it. Not only is she the only guard on the Liberty averaging double figures in points, but she’s also the second-leading scorer after veteran and former UConn player Tina Charles.  Nurse is a huge piece to this Liberty team that is currently 2-3.

Who’s having success?

Despite their records, the Aces’ A’ja Wilson and Fever’s Kelsey Mitchell are continuing to have breakout seasons.  Both players are leading their teams in scoring - Wilson at 21 points per game and Mitchell at 18.3 points per game. Wilson has scored 20 or more points in her last four games and Mitchell has had three 20-point performances out of only six games. Diamond DeShields is averaging 15.3 points per game and is the second leading scorer for the Sky.  Ariel Atkins is the third-leading scorer for the Mystics at 12.5 points per game.    

Rookies that have been waived:

Mercedes Russell, who was waived by the Liberty, was recently signed to the Storm in place for 29th overall pick Teana Muldrow.