Talia Walton, the 6-foot-2 forward from Federal Way who helped the Washington Huskies women’s basketball team this season to its first Final Four appearance, was selected No. 29 overall by the Los Angeles Sparks in the third round of the WNBA draft on Thursday.
Walton, who averaged 16.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season, is the highest-drafted player in UW women’s basketball history, and the first UW player to be selected in the WNBA draft since Megan Franza was picked in the fourth round, at No. 61 overall, in 2001.
Walton was one of the most important players on the most accomplished team in the history of UW women’s basketball. She was their second-leading scorer, combining a savvy outside shooting touch with a physical presence near the basket, and was also the Huskies’ second-leading rebounder.
During UW’s improbable NCAA tournament run, Walton was named to the All-Lexington Region team after scoring 30 points in the Huskies’ Sweet 16 upset of No. 3 seed Kentucky, then was named to the All-Final Four team after scoring 29 points and making a Final Four-record eight 3-pointers in the Huskies’ 80-59 loss to Syracuse in the national semifinals.
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She finished her career as UW’s all-time leading shot-blocker (177), as well as the Huskies’ career leader in games played (134). Her 254 3-pointers also rank second all-time at UW, and she is the only Huskies player to rank in the school’s top five in both career scoring and rebounding.