Three-Time All-Big 12 Kiera Hardy
Nebraska guard Kiera Hardy became just the second Husker chosen in WNBA Draft history when she was selected with the 39th overall pick by the Connecticut Sun in April of 2007.
Hardy, a Kodak/WBCA Region 5 All-American and a three-time first-team All-Big 12 selection, closed her illustrious Nebraska career as the school's No. 4 all-time leading scorer with 1,930 points. She also smashed the school record with 267 three-pointers, previously held by current WNBA All-Star Anna DeForge with 155 from 1995 to 1998. DeForge is one of the WNBA's all-time leaders in three-pointers made.
"I'm very happy and excited and I'm ready to prove to everybody that big things come in small packages," Hardy said. "I feel very blessed, and I want to thank Coach Thibault and their organization for giving me a chance to prove myself. I thought Pre-Draft Camp went very well for me last week, and I felt good going into the draft. Obviously I was getting pretty nervous as the picks got later in the third round, but it was a relief and I'm going to go there to prove to everybody that I belong."
Hardy was one of five players from the Big 12 Conference chosen in the three-round draft, including Tiffany Jackson (Texas), Bernice Mosby (Baylor), Lyndsey Medders (Iowa State) and Leah Rush (Oklahoma).
Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said Hardy had earned a chance to prove her worth to a WNBA team.
"Kiera has had a great career at Nebraska and she deserves a shot at playing at the next level," Yori said. "She is going to get an opportunity to prove herself at camp, which is going to give herself a chance of achieving her dream of being a WNBA player. She was able to put together an impressive list of accomplishments during her career at Nebraska, and we are proud that we helped put Kiera in a position to make her dream of playing in the WNBA come true."
Hardy was the final player taken in the 2007 WNBA Draft and will have a chance to earn a spot in one of the league's most successful franchises. Sun Coach Mike Thibault, who formerly coached the Omaha Racers in the CBA, was the 2006 WNBA Coach of the Year after leading Connecticut to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third consecutive season. The Sun battled the Sacramento Monarchs for the WNBA title in both 2004 and 2005, before falling to the Detroit Shock in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2006.
A 5-6 shooting guard out of O'Hara High School in Kansas City, Mo., Hardy joined Nicole Kubik as the only Huskers ever chosen in the WNBA Draft. Kubik was taken with the 15th overall pick of the first-round by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2000.
Hardy hit the game-winning shot in her exhibition debut with the sun, finishing with 12 points on four three-pointers in a victory over the New York Liberty. She played significant minutes in the Sun's second preseason game with Seattle, before being cut from Connecticut's roster on May 13 - a week before the start of the WNBA regular season.
Current WNBA star Anna DeForge was a second-round pick in the 1998 American Basketball League Draft by the San Jose Lasers. She eventually became the first Husker to earn a spot on a WNBA regular-season roster with the Detroit Shock in 2000.