Kahleah Copper, left, and Rachel Hollivay, right.


Kahleah Copper, left, was drafted by the Washington Mystics and Rachel Hollivay, right, was chosen by the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary season.

Alex Goodlett

How do you get to the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA)? Practice, of course. And making one of its pro teams is easier if you have done your practicing as a member of the Scarlet Knights women’s basketball team, under head coach C. Vivian Stringer.

This spring, two former stars—forward Kahleah Copper SAS’16 and center Rachel Hollivay SAS’16, SMLR’16—became the 18th and 19th Scarlet Knights to be drafted into the WNBA, which this year is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Copper was chosen seventh overall by the Washington Mystics—the highest selection since Epiphanny Prince RC’10 was picked fourth in 2010 and the eighth former Rutgers star to be chosen in the first round. Hollivay, selected 13th, will play for the Atlanta Dream.

The selections of Copper and Hollivay mark the seventh time that two Rutgers players have been drafted in the same year and the first time since 2012, when Khadijah Rushdan SAS’12 and April Sykes SAS’12 were selected. The two women have another Scarlet Knight to emulate: Cappie Pondexter RC’06, a guard on the Chicago Sky and perennial all-star who was named one of the top-15 players in WNBA history.

Copper, a Second Team All-Big Ten member, led the Scarlet Knights in scoring for the third straight year (17.7 points a game) and rebounds (8). Hollivay, a member of the Big Ten All-Defensive Team, is the all-time shots blocker at Rutgers, averaging 3.3 a game during her final season to go along with her 7.8 points and 6.6 rebounds.

Sue Wicks CC’88 was the first Scarlet Knight to be drafted into the WNBA, selected in the first round and sixth overall in 1997 by the New York Liberty when the league consisted of eight teams. Other former Rutgers players, who weren’t drafted, such as Erica Wheeler SAS’13 of the Indiana Fever, are  playing in today’s 12-team WNBA as well.