Every Friday I’ve been diving in to a WNBA first in a series I’ve creatively titled Friday Firsts. If you missed any of the eight Friday Firsts posts, go back and check them out:
Today is an update, with some history at the end. With the 2021 regular season winding down, I’m taking some time off from the regularly scheduled content until I can give it the time and attention it deserves. I hope to be back for the college season.
That said, there’s plenty in the full archives if you’re wanting to get caught up on anything from this summer. There’s plenty of WNBA to watch every day at this point, though.
This is just a pause on the regularly scheduled content; there may still be an update here or there, and the history will still be coming regularly from @WBBTimeline on Twitter.
I’ll leave you with a couple of brief WNBA firsts.
Tracy Reid was a two-time All-American and ACC Player of the Year at the University of North Carolina, where she scored 2,200 points (2nd in program history) and 1,065 rebounds, leading the Tar Heels to the Elite Eight in her senior year.
Reid was selected by the Charlotte Sting at No. 7 overall in the 1998 WNBA Draft, and she joined NC State legend Andrea Stinson, trailing only Stinson in scoring among Sting players, and third on the team in rebounding. She helped lead the Sting to an 18-12 finish, good for 2nd in the Eastern Conference and a spot in the WNBA Playoffs, where they were ultimately swept (2-0) by the eventual champions, the Houston Comets.
Reid was named Rookie of the Year after what is still the closest vote in WNBA history, and until Crystal Dangerfield won last year as the No. 16 pick, she was the latest pick in the draft to get the top rookie honor.
Eva Němcová is one of the league’s original players, an efficient sharpshooter for the Cleveland Rockers from 1997 to 2001.
From 1999 to 2000, she made a WNBA record 66 consecutive free throws. Along the way, she made 62 of 63 during the 1999 season (the one miss came in her second game of the season), good for a 98.4% from the free throw line that year.
She became the first WNBA player to shoot 95% or better from the free throw line, and of players with at least 50 made free throws (the minimum to qualify for the league’s FT% leader board), her 1999 mark is still a WNBA single-season record.
Němcová has been joined by four other players who have finished a season at 95% or better from the free throw line, a few of them a couple of times:
|Elena Delle Donne||2019||WAS||114||117||97.4|
|Elena Delle Donne||2017||WAS||142||149||95.3|
This year, Kayla McBride is currently on track for the 10th best free throw percentage in WNBA history (as of September 8: 83-88, 94.3%). A run of free throw makes could get her on that list.
For more on Eva Němcová, check out my profile on her from a few years ago.
Until next time, enjoy the rest of the WNBA season!