Former Ohio State Buckeye Kierstan Bell taken in WNBA draft's first round by Las Vegas Aces
Former Ohio State Buckeye Kierstan Bell went in the first round of the WNBA draft Monday night, as the Las Vegas Aces selected the 6-foot-1 guard with the 11th pick of the first round.
"I'm going to go in there with an open mind," Bell said. "I'm going to be willing to learn. It's going to be a different pace of the game. Different things have been going on in the WNBA, and that's just an opportunity to learn from the great players that are playing on that team, and I think that's going to help me become a better player."
Bell committed to Ohio State out of Canton McKinley, where she became Ohio's only three-time Ms. Basketball. During her freshman year at OSU, she started nine games, averaged 10.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, and earned a spot on the All-Big Ten freshman team while being named honorable mention All-Big Ten.
This winter, Bell won AP All-America honorable mention honors for a second straight year, despite dealing with a knee surgery midway into the regular season. She averaged 23.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game and was the first player to repeat as the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year.
Hammon, a former six-time WNBA All-Star, will now be Bell's coach in the WNBA. The Aces hired her on Dec. 31, 2021 after Hammon had a long run as one of Gregg Popovich's top assistant coaches with the NBA's San Antonio Spurs. Bell hasn't spoken to anyone from the Aces, and it surprised her when they drafted her.
"That is so crazy. I didn't expect it, but it's an honor to be under a coach like that," Bell said." She is a great coach and I am ready to work with her and play for the Las Vegas Aces"
Bell led FGCU to the NCAA Tournament each of the last two years. The Eagles won the ASUN Conference regular-season and tournament titles this past season before beating Virginia Tech in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Alliance native was one of five finalists for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as the nation’s top shooting guard.
Bell was the Aces' second pick in the first round. Mya Hollingshed of Colorado has selected three spots ahead of her. Bell also will be playing with three-time WNBA All-Star A'ja Wilson. With Bell's versatility, she believes she will bring more to the table to a team that finished second in the WNBA standings (24-8).
"Just my confidence. I'm versatile, played many positions and it just gives me the opportunity to learn from the best of the best," Bell said. "You know A'ja Wilson is on this team, so that's an opportunity to learn from her. They have great players on that team, and it's just an honor to be playing for them."
Previous Ohio State WNBA draft picks:
- 1998 (expansion draft, pick No. 8) Adrienne Johnson, Cleveland Rockers
- 1999 (player allocation from Columbus Quest) Katie Smith, Minnesota Lynx
- 2001 (round 3, pick No. 41) Jamie Lewis, Washington Mystics
- 2002 (round 4, pick No. 55) Tomeka Brown, Orlando Miracle
- 2003 (round 2, pick No. 13) Courtney Coleman, Connecticut Sun
- 2006 (round 2, pick No. 28) Debbie Merrill, Connecticut Sun
- 2007 (round 1, pick No. 2) Jessica Davenport, San Antonio Silver Stars
- 2007 (round 3, pick No. 33) Brandie Hoskins, Seattle Storm
- 2008 (round 3, pick No. 41) Marscilla Packer, Phoenix Mercury
- 2011 (round 1, pick No. 5) Jantel Lavender, Los Angeles Sparks
- 2012 (round 1, pick No. 6) Samantha Prahalis, Phoenix Mercury
- 2013 (round 1, pick No. 4) Tayler Hill, Washington Mystics
- 2016 (round 2, pick No. 24) Ameryst Alston, New York Liberty
- 2017 (round 2, pick No. 13) Shayla Cooper, Chicago Sky
- 2018 (round 1, pick No. 2) Kelsey Mitchel, Indiana Fever
- 2018 (round 2, pick No. 14) Stephanie Mavunga, Indiana Fever