BYU senior center Jennifer Hamson was drafted by the Los Angeles Sparks as the 23rd overall pick in the 2014 Women’s National Basketball Association draft Monday.
Hamson, who was the first pick for the Sparks, was chosen in the second round. In Los Angeles, she will join superstars such as former Tennessee standout Candace Parker. She won’t be moving to California just yet, though. Hamson plans to stay for her senior year of eligibility with the BYU women’s volleyball team during the 2014 season before heading to the WNBA.
Last season, the Sparks finished in second place of the Western Conference with a 24-10 record. The Sparks’ other pick of the 2014 draft was Louisville’s Antonita Slaughter. Chiney Ogwumike of Stanford was the first overall pick, chosen by the Connecticut Sun.
The league, founded in 1996, has 12 teams that are often partnered with their NBA counterparts. The regular season runs from May to August with playoffs typically in September.
The Cougar women’s basketball team has some big shoes to fill next year with the absence of Hamson, who was a major part of their spectacular season and NCAA tournament run. Hamson led the nation in blocked shots and was awarded WCC Player of the Year as well as Defensive Player of the Year honors, all while averaging 17.7 points and 11.5 rebounds. Over her career, she worked her way into the record books, finishing second all-time in blocked shots (340) and third in rebounds (965) and field goal percentage (.555).
Hamson is just the third BYU player to ever go to the WNBA, with former stars Erin Thorn going to the New York Liberty in 2003 and Ambrosia Anderson going to the Detroit Shock in 2006.