The Atlanta Dream made Kristy Wallace’s WNBA dream become a reality.
Atlanta selected the Baylor senior guard with the 16th pick in the second round of Thursday’s WNBA Draft, giving Wallace an opportunity to chase her passion professionally after her college career ended in injury.
“I am honestly speechless,” Wallace said. “I’m so thankful and blessed. This year has been really tough in a lot of ways, but for this to happen, it’s just really phenomenal.”
Wallace tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee in Baylor’s regular season-ending win over West Virginia, ending her season. The 5-11 point guard from Queensland, Australia, averaged a career-high 12.9 points in 29 games prior to the injury, shooting 51 percent from the floor and 38 percent from 3-point range.
Wallace became the 14th Baylor player to be picked in the WNBA Draft, though she was the first second-round selection. Every previous player had either been taken in either the first or third rounds.
It also marks the third straight year Baylor has had a player drafted, following Niya Johnson (Atlanta) in 2016, and Alexis Jones (Minnesota) and Alexis Prince (Phoenix) last year.
Additionally, Florida State’s Imani Wright – who transferred to the Seminoles from Baylor after the 2015 season – was selected by the Phoenix Mercury, with the 26th overall pick in the third round.
Atlanta did not have a first-round pick in this year’s draft, but had back-to-back selections in the second round. The Dream took UCLA forward Monique Billings with the 15th pick immediately before selecting BU’s Wallace.
Wallace will join an Atlanta team that went 12-22 in the 2017 season and finished fifth in the WNBA’s Eastern Conference. The Dream are coached by first-year head coach Nikki Collen, who previously was an assistant with the Connecticut Sun.
“It’s a really exciting time,” Wallace said. “I’ve worked so hard to get to this moment and for it to happen is so awesome. I can’t wait to show them my game and learn from other professionals in the league. It’s so surreal that this happened.”
Wallace credited her time at Baylor with helping her reach the WNBA stage.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone at Baylor for having my back through the ups and downs,” Wallace said. “Being there for me and for the support, especially through my ACL injury. I’m just so thankful and so blessed to have my support group at Baylor and in Waco.”