With the 11th selection in the 2016 WNBA Draft, the Atlanta Dream selected Bria Holmes out of West Virginia University.
Holmes is the fifth former Mountaineer under head coach Mike Carey to be drafted into the WNBA. With the 11th overall pick, Holmes became the highest player picked out of West Virginia.
It’s every collegiate player’s dream to be able to play professional. Holmes will get a sizable paycheck to carry on her basketball aspirations. This is not only a great moment for her and the Mountaineers, but a moment that all West Virginia fans should take pride in.
The women’s basketball team, and all sports outside of men’s basketball and football, tend to get overlooked by the casual WVU fan. Maybe Holmes can shed some light on the fact that there are other talented student athletes in Morgantown.
"“Bria has worked extremely hard for four years,” coach Carey said. “She has been loyal to the West Virginia program. We are very proud of her, and she has a great opportunity with Atlanta. I think her best basketball is ahead of her.”"
Holmes has a chance to step in right away and help rebuild the Dream. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that this opportunity happens to be a lifelong dream for the native of New Haven, Conn.
"“It has always been a dream of mine to play in the WNBA, and to finally get drafted, especially in the first round, it was a bitter sweet moment,” Holmes said. “I wasn’t really expecting to go in the first round, but my dream actually came true. I couldn’t be happier and more proud of myself. All of the things that I have been through in high school and at West Virginia really paved the way for me.”"
Atlanta went 15-19 last season and placed fifth in the Eastern Conference. The team is just one season removed from a regular season conference championship. Up until this season, the Dream had a run of making the playoffs for six consecutive seasons.
The Dream came into existence in 2008 and plays at Phillips Arena in downtown Atlanta, the home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.
Currently, the Dream boasts four guards on the team that stand below 6-foot (Matee Ajavon, Sydney Carter, Carla Cortijo and Tiffany Hayes). Holmes is a 6-foot-1 guard who plays bigger than her given frame.
In high school, Holmes was a McDonald’s All-American after scoring more than 1,400 points, grabbing more than 400 rebounds and creating more than 400 steals.
At WVU, Holmes finished in the Top 10 in program history in 14 different categories.
She surpassed the 2,000-point mark and tied a record for most games played with 189. It’s that kind of dedication, passion and work ethic that makes her one of the best female players to ever play basketball in Morgantown.
In Atlanta, Holmes may be asked to play a forward position. The team already has DeLisha Milton-Jones and Angel McCoughtery who stand at 6-foot, as well, playing at forward.
This seems to be a good fit for Holmes as she must continue to improve to get her chance at a good chunk of playing time. West Virginia will certainly miss the services of the three-time All-Big 12 honoree. While Holmes was at WVU, the Mountaineers went 95-44, including a 30-win season in 2013-14, with three NCAA Tournament appearances and a runner up finish in the NIT.
Coach Carey will have to find a talented player to replace Holmes, but that won’t be easy. However, Carey is keen on finding these do-it-all performers.
The four other Mountaineers drafted to the WNBA were Kate Bulger (2004), Yolanda Paige (2005), Olayinka Sanni (2008) and Asya Bussie (2014).