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Mathies Selected 10th Overall by LA Sparks in WNBA Draft

A'dia Mathies was selected 10th overall in the WNBA Draft, the highest pick in school history.

A'dia Mathies was selected 10th overall in the WNBA Draft, the highest pick in school history.

April 15, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. - University of Kentucky women's basketball senior standout A'dia Mathies (pronounced AH-dee-uh MATH-is) was the 10th overall selection in the 2013 Women's National Basketball Association Draft as she was chosen by the Los Angeles Sparks in the first round on Monday night in Bristol, Conn.

Mathies, a native of Louisville, Ky., is UK's highest draft pick in school history. She is the third player in school history to be chosen in the draft and the second Wildcat in the last three seasons to be selected in the first round. Victoria Dunlap (2008-11) was chosen as the 11th overall selection in the 2011 draft, while Shantia Owens (1999-2000) was the 53rd pick in the third round of the 2000 WNBA Draft.

In her senior season, Mathies was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year by The Associated Press and Co-SEC Player of the Year by the league coaches. She led the seventh-ranked Wildcats in scoring (16.1 points per game), 3-point field goals made (73) and 3-point field goal percentage (.422), and was second on the team in steals (69) and assists (80).  She reached double-figure scoring in 34-of-36 games and led UK to a school-record four straight NCAA Tournaments, including back-to-back Elite Eight appearances.

"All of us are thrilled for A'dia," UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "She did so much for the Kentucky program while she as here and we had no doubt she was one of the top players in the country. Being chosen as a first-round pick just shows what she did for us and how hard she has worked to get here. I think the Los Angeles Sparks made a great pick."


 

 

The 5-foot-11 guard ended her illustrious Wildcat career ranking in the top 10 of 13 career lists, including No. 1 in games played (140), games started (139) and steals (320). She moved ahead of Dunlap in career scoring at No. 2 with 2,014 points, becoming just the fifth player in UK basketball history, men or women, to chart 2,000 or more career points. She joins Valerie Still (2,763, 1979-83), Dan Issel (2,138, 1967-70), Kenny Walker (2,080, 1982-86), Jack Givens (2,038, 1974-78) on that elite list. She ranks second all-time in 3-point field goals made (177) and free throws made (413).

Los Angeles will play two preseason games beginning May 12 vs. Seattle in the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif., at 1 p.m. PDT followed by a matchup vs. Tulsa on Sunday, May 19 at noon PDT at the SRC Arena in Riverside, Calif. The Sparks, coached by former Florida and Ole Miss head coach Carol Ross, begin regular-season play at home in the Staples Center vs. Seattle on Sunday, May 26 at 5:30 p.m. PDT. For more information visit www.LASparks.com.

A'dia Mathies Media Availability - Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On if she had any idea of where she may be drafted…
"No, I didn't have any idea and it was just pure excitement. I think I was excited so much I was just sitting on the couch and once they got up into the seven, eight, nine area, my heart started beating fast when every single pick was called. I'm just excited to get picked to L.A., it's a great organization. Pretty much everybody who thinks about the WNBA they automatically think of the Sparks. Just to be going there, my brother lives in L.A. and being with him and I miss him and I'm just very excited right now."

On where she was watching the draft…
"I went home and went over to my grandmother's house. My parents were there, a couple cousins, my sister, so a couple family members and it was definitely exciting. My mom started jumping around. I haven't seen her jump around like that in a while so I know she was excited."

On how much of this has been a dream come true…
"It definitely took different stages. When you were younger you always write down, 'I want to go to the WNBA' but when you get older you kind of forget about it, or at least I did. Just coming here and seeing how close I am to the opportunity and coming from UK and seeing players in the WNBA that I played against and feeling like I can be there and just keeping working at it and it actually coming I'm just glad I got selected and I'm ready to work."

On if her brother living in L.A. will help with her transition…
"I think it's definitely going to help. I'm not in a city where I don't know anybody because I have him, his wife and his wife's sister so I know a couple of people. He knows basketball and he gives me pointers all the time, especially when I was playing at UK and things I need to work on and I think that's really going to help me out a lot. He's going to support me so I know I have somebody I can trust and I think it's going to be really beneficial to have him there."

On what's next for her with graduation approaching…
"Really just keeping on top of my school work and making sure I graduate, which I'm going to on May 5. After that, I'm heading straight to L.A. for training camp and trying to make the team and wear the L.A. Sparks jersey."

On how she feels herself fitting in with the Sparks…
"What the commentators were saying the Sparks have guards that can push the tempo and play great defense. I think I can definitely help with that, especially playing at UK the way that we play. We play up-tempo and have great guards and great ball handlers and can play different positions and can definitely play defense. I think I can be a great asset to the team and really help them out a lot."

On where her head is through everything that is going on…
"Right now it's on cloud nine, but I'm going to come down very soon. Just stay grounded and humbled. I had a great workout today with the team and Coach (Ukari) Figgs, who played at L.A., too. It's really great to see how everything is coming together and I'm just trying to stay focused and do everything right and try to be the best that I can."

On if Coach (Matthew) Mitchell has told her anything about her new coach having coached under her at Florida…
"He hasn't said much but I think she mentioned it. She gave him an assistant coaching job at Florida and actually she recruited Coach (Danielle) Santos and that's the reason she went to Florida. It's great to see how connected the UK family is with the L.A. Sparks and maybe that had something to do with the opportunity to become a Spark. I'm just glad that it came out that way and I'm excited to be a Spark."

On if she has thought about her other options of playing overseas…
"I've definitely considered going overseas. I might have to bring somebody with me. Going that far away for that amount of time I know it's going to be tough so just having a friend with me that would be great. I'm definitely thinking about it because there are some great players over there and you know how much more money they make and that's a great opportunity for any women's basketball player so I am going to try to use that to my advantage."

On being the highest draft pick in UK women's basketball history…
"It means a lot. It's very humbling to see somebody like me to actually get that accomplished and just doing the things that I've done here. When I first came here, I never would have imagined I would be top in this and doing this and even getting drafted this high. The work that we put in as a team and individually I think it's definitely paid off and I'm just happy and humbled that it actually happened and it's a great time in my life and I'm very excited."

On joining a team that is coming off a successful year…
"It didn't really make a difference. Any team that is willing to pick you I think you should be very happy. Playing with great players I think that's even better for you. They can give you so much knowledge about the game. Candace Parker, who everyone knows, I know she knows a lot about basketball and Kristi Toliver, so I think it's always great to go to a great team. I'm looking forward to trying to make the team become even better."

On getting the opportunity to play in Staples Center…
"It's going to be great. It's exciting to see it actually happening and just being on a professional level now and seeing how many more people look up to you. I think it's going to be exciting and I can't wait to get started."

On if she's talked with Coach Figgs about what it's like to live out in L.A. …
"We haven't talked much about that, she has just been giving me the basics right now like getting an agent and really helping me out with the draft experience since she has been through it. We will talk more about it as far as what it's like to play out there and being a WNBA player. We have been working out a little bit and we are just going to take it step-by-step over the next couple of weeks."

On if she had a role model in the WNBA growing up…
"There wasn't anyone in particular that I really looked up to, mostly my brother. I wanted to become my own role model. That's what I thought more about instead of looking at other people as a role model. I looked at other people to see how they got it done but I would never say I had a role model. There are a lot of great people in the WNBA and a lot of great women and I'm ready to be a part of it."

On if it's exciting that she may be a role model for people in the future…
"Yeah, that's crazy. It kind of makes me nervous. I have to do everything right. I'm ready to take on the challenge and I need to better myself and I think the WNBA helps that too."

On what parts of her game she needs to improve on to be a better player against WNBA competition…
"Coach Figgs was telling me how you can have a long career in the WNBA. She said if you make open shots whether it's two or 3s and hit your free throws and handle the ball then you should have a long career in the WNBA. She was telling me I need to get stronger with the ball because defense is even more intense at the next level. She just gave me pointers about that so I'm definitely going to work on my jump shot and improve even more and become stronger with the ball and don't take wasted dribbles and things like that."

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