Many expected Kelsey Plum to be a star in the WNBA from day one. The NCAA’s all-time leading scorer would jump right in and thrive among the best 144 players in the world, just as she did in college while guiding Washington to its first Final Four.
As it turns out, that would not be the case.
While Plum is now starting to find her groove, it took her some time to adjust to life in the WNBA. It’s been that way for almost every member of this rookie class. Two of them have stood out so far this season: Allisha Gray of the Dallas Wings and Brittney Sykes of the Atlanta Dream. The dynamic guards figure to battle for Rookie of the Year and make it an exciting race down the stretch.
Here is the latest on how the league’s top first-year players have been faring.
Kaela Davis, Dallas Wings
After an extremely productive first month in the WNBA, Davis’ minutes have taken a hit lately thanks to the return of Aerial Powers. In fact, she had scored a career-high 23 points in her final appearance before Powers made her season debut. Since then, Davis has played just 10 minutes per game and scored 14 total points. Nonetheless, it has been as a solid rookie campaign overall, as Davis is shooting 41 percent from three-point range.
Allisha Gray, Dallas Wings
The Rookie of the Month in May and June, Gray has also seen her playing time dip since Powers returned to the Wings’ lineup. She hasn’t lost her starting job, however, and Gray is the lone rookie to start every game for her club this season. The Wings have a surplus of solid perimeter players, but Gray has proven she deserves to be on the court for a Dallas team seeking a playoff berth. The lefty from South Carolina leads all rookies with 12.6 points per game.
Kelsey Plum, San Antonio Stars
It has been a roller-coaster season for the No. 1 pick in the draft. Just as she did at Washington, Plum joined a crowded backcourt in San Antonio and struggled to find her role. The injury troubles of Moriah Jefferson have thrust Plum into the spotlight lately, and the lefty is starting to come alive. She scored 23 points last weekend as part of the Stars’ overtime win over Seattle, their third straight victory. San Antonio is 5-0 this season when Plum plays 30 or more minutes.
Brittney Sykes, Atlanta Dream
Sykes, who played against Plum in the Final Four in 2016, only slightly trails Gray with 12.2 points per game in her rookie season. She was named Rookie of the Month for July after averaging 17.8 points per contest, which ranked eighth in the entire WNBA. Sykes, who became a starter for Atlanta in late June, has now scored in double figures in 15 consecutive games. Not bad for a player who wasn’t invited to the draft and fell to the No. 7 pick.