The WNBA Just Drafted its First Player From an HBCU in 20 Years

Ameshya Williams-Holliday

Ameshya Williams-Holliday, a student-athlete at Jackson State University, has been drafted into the WNBA. It marks the first time for an HBCU player to be selected in two decades.

"I think if I was at a Power 5 school, it would be a different story of me being drafted or trying to get my foot in [the WNBA]," Williams-Holliday told Andscape last year. "People think [HBCUs] can't compete with other top institutions [or] a Power 5 school, but that's not true. I think we deserve to be on the same level. I do think if I was still at Mississippi State, I would be a first-round draft pick. Since I chose to go to an HBCU, I don't know where I'll be drafted [or] if I will be drafted."

However, Ameshya, who plays center, was selected in the third round and ranked no. 25 overall going to the Indiana Fever.

5 years ago, Ameshya started playing basketball at Mississippi State until she quit because she said she doesn't enjoy the game anymore. She eventually came back to the court in 2019 with Jackson State after she gave birth to her son.

At Jackson State, she led the team to 60 combined wins. She was also awarded the SWAC Defensive Player of the Year for 3 straight years and SWAC Player of the Year this season.

Ameshya is now heading to Indiana to join the team.

Meanwhile, since WNBA was founded 26 years ago, only 5 players from an HBCU have been drafted into the league. The latest was in 2002 wherein 3 players were drafted, namely Andrea Gardner from Howard University, Amba Kongolo from North Carolina Central University, and Jacklyn Winfield from Southern University and A&M College. The first two were both from Howard University, which are Denique Graves in 1997 and Karen Wilkins in 1998.