October 31, 2014

Cherokee, Sequoyah alum becomes highest drafted Native woman in WNBA history

Prior to Monday night’s draft, Tahnee Robinson was the only enrolled tribal citizen to be drafted by a WNBA team, with the Phoenix Mercury selecting her with the 31st pick of the 2011 draft.  One other Native woman, Navajo Nation citizen Ryneldi Becenti, played as a free agent with the Mercury in 1997.





TULSA, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Angel Goodrich became the highest drafted Native American woman in WNBA history Monday night when she was selected in the 29th round by the Tulsa Shock.

“This means a lot,” she said. “Coming from a small town and an all-Indian school, this is something I’ve been dreaming about. “It is an honor to represent Natives like this.”

A graduate of Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, Okla., Goodrich played collegiately at the University of Kansas and averaged 14 points and almost seven assists per game this season, leading the Jayhawks to a second consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearance. Goodrich was a 2012-2013 first team All Big 12 selection and is the first Cherokee Nation citizen picked in the WNBA draft.

“The team that came up big in the third round is the Tulsa Shock,” ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo said Monday night. “They came into tonight without a point guard. They got their starting guard in the first round and then picked up Angel Goodrich from Kansas.

“That kid has a real shot to make their roster.”

With their first round pick, the Shock selected University of Notre Dame point guard Skylar Diggins, a four-time All-American and two-time Big East Player of the Year. Diggins, whose team eliminated Goodrich’s Lady Jayhawks from the 2013 NCAA tournament, told Shock fans via Skype Monday night that she wants to take the team to the playoffs. The team has not qualified for the postseason since relocating from Detroit to Tulsa in 2010.

“I just want to go to Tulsa and do my job,” Diggins said. “I’m excited about this opportunity. I can’t believe I’m here.”

Prior to Monday night’s draft, Tahnee Robinson was the only enrolled tribal citizen to be drafted by a WNBA team, with the Phoenix Mercury selecting her with the 31st pick of the 2011 draft.  One other Native woman, Navajo Nation citizen Ryneldi Becenti, played as a free agent with the Mercury in 1997.

“Angel was the best available player at the time,” Shock coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “Yes, we took a point guard with our first round pick, but she can’t play all 40 minutes. We will need a back up.”

Training camp starts on May 5 and the Shock’s home opener is May 27 against the Washington Mystics. WNBA teams are limited to 11 active players on their roster. After Monday night’s draft, Tulsa has 13 women on its roster.

“This is the first time I’ve ever really had to try out for a team,” Goodrich said. “I do love a challenge. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. I’m just going to go in there, work my tail off and leave it out on the court.”

Starting with the 2013 season, Osage Casino is the marquee sponsor of Tulsa’s WNBA team, making them the only tribally-owned entity to be a presenting sponsor of a professional sports team. The WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, based in Uncasville, Conn., is owned by the Mohegan Tribe and plays at the tribe’s Mohegan Sun casino. However, logos for the tribe and its casino do not appear on the team’s jerseys.


A citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a graduate of Sequoyah High School, Goodrich played collegiately at the University of Kansas and averaged 14 points and almost seven assists per game this season, leading the Jayhawks to a second consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearance.

PHOTO COURTESY KANSAS ATHLETICS

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